By RICARDO CASTILLO
A recent vote at Mexico’s lower house Chamber of Deputies denying President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the approval of his electricity reform left the impression that the country is politically “polarized,” that is, evenly divided in two political factions. AMLO’s supporters at the chamber missed the two-thirds majority goal they needed to pass the reform, which would have required a change to the Constitution.
On facing the rare occasion of a parliamentary defeat, AMLO downgraded the minority vote against the bill by calling it “a pyrrhic victory,” (winning, but actually losing and called upon the winning parties to wait for the June 5 elections for governor in six different states just to prove that the vote is not polarized.
In Congress, several minority parties ganged up against the president’s electricity reform to nix it. A different reality now looms over the next three weeks to really gauge forces and define who’s who on the political spectrum.
The offing, however, does not look good for the majority of minority parties, which, at least for now in the various early polls, look like they might lose four of the six gubernatorial seats up for grabs.
Though not the only ones, here are the results of usually reliable pollster Facto Métricam which has been issuing for the past two months the results of a weekly poll. The one mentioned here was carried out among 1,000 registered voters in each of the six states.
Central Mexican state Aguascalientes seems to be the only one where things look rosy for the “awesome threesome” coalition of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
Candidate Tere Jiménez of the PAN-PRI-PRD is leading by a whopping 47.2 percent, against 32.5 percent over the badly trailing Nora Ruvalcaba of the president’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party.
No radical changes are foreseen. hence expect the PAN-PRI-PRD threesome to win this one.
For several weeks, the PAN-PRI-PRD coalition candidate Esteban Villegas led the state-poll, and even managed to have a difference over the Morena, Labor Party, Green Party and Alliance Party candidate of 45.9 to 32.1 percent.
But as the weeks went by, Villegas lost ground and in the last poll Facto Métrica had it trailing at 39.7 against opponent Marina Vitela, who now narrowly leads, for the first time, with 42.4 percent.
This race is still a too close to call match, but Morena and its allies have definitely stepped on the accelerator.
This race may not be the hottest, but it’s surely the noisiest.
First of all, Hidalgo, a state just north of Mexico City, is one of the last power bastions of the PRI, and its candidate, Carolina Viggiano, is the party’s national secretary general. Her husband is also a top PRI leader and deputy.
On the polls. Viggiano has been trailing the Morena-Labor Party-Green Party coalition candidate Julio Menchaca Salazar.
Menchaca at the last May 14 poll came up with a 53.6 percent over Viggiano’s 29.5 percent.
No great changes are expected between now and election day, and the morbid attraction is that if defeated, this may be one of the last gasps of a dying political party, infamous for its endemic corruption.
Another foreseeable defeat for the PRI-PRD coalition is in Oaxaca.
This is another state governed by the PRI since time immemorial.
The party’s candidate Alejando Avilés Alvarez is trailing with only 18.5 percent of the poll, while the Morena-Labor-Green alliance is credited with 54.6 percent.
The PAN is running it own candidate, Natividad Díaz, who trails with 6.8 percent and the Citizens’ Movement Party candidate, Alejandra García Morian, trails the pack with 6.3 percent.
Another state in which polls forecast a sweep by the Morena-Labor-Green and Fuerza Mexico parties is the Caribbean,fronting Quintana Roo.
The Morena candidate Maria Elena Lezama Espinoza leads the competitive with 43.3 percent while in second place is José Luis Pech of the Citizens’ Movement, with a far 20 percent. PAN-PRD candidate Laura Fernández Piña has 17.8 percent, while PRI candidate Angelina Hendicks trails with 7.4 percent.
Last but not least in the alphabetical order is the Gulf of Mexico coastal state of Tamaulipas. This is the by-a-nose race between PAN-PRI-PRD candidate César Verástegui Ostos and Américo Villarreal of the Morena-Labor and Green coalition.
As in Durango, last week Villarreal of Morena was heading the poll, but this week HE fell behind Verástegui, who rose up to 42.9 percent while Villarreal dropped down to 40.5 percent.
This is another close call that will have to wait for final definition on June 5.