This was the largest election in Mexican history, both in voting population and candidacies. Some 94 million Mexicans cast ballots for 21,368 public officials. All 500 seats in the lower house of Congress were up for grabs, as were 15 governorships, 1,923 mayoralties and thousands of other local posts.
It was also Mexico’s deadliest election in recent history.
The main opposition that dented Morena’s dominance was a coalition of Mexico’s three traditional parties: the center-right Revolutionary Institutional Party, right-wing National Action Party and leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution. The Citizen’s Movement, a social-democratic party, competed independently.
Most electoral violence seen during the midterm election season occurred in the cartel-dominated Mexican states of Guerrero, Veracruz and Oaxaca. There, criminal groups often offer local public servants and candidates the infamous choice of “silver or lead,” which translates to “plata o plomo.” In other words, take a bribe or get shot.
Seventy-five percent of the attacks against politicians or candidates this election season were against local officials. Municipal leaders are appealing targets because criminal groups can intimidate lower-level officials into handing over parts of municipal budgets or calling off local police.
In his June 2 daily press conference, he said Mexicans “do not live in a perfect society” but claimed “peace and tranquility” reign.
The president’s morning press conferences, which can last for up to three hours, frequently include diatribes against the reporters asking him questions, attacks on feminism and accusations against human rights organizations. He also uses press conferences to attack his political opponents.
The Mexican Constitution and electoral laws prohibit public officials from using the government machinery to promote themselves or their political allies during elections.
López Obrador maintains the support of 57% of Mexicans, who crave the promised “transformation” of their long-struggling nation. But many civil society leaders and intellectuals perceive an authoritarian bent in the president’s combative rhetoric and policy agenda.
Other Morena legislation raises privacy concerns. A legislative reform passed this year requires cellphone companies to gather users’ identification and biometric data, like eye scans, and turn it over to the government.
It was López Obrador’s first of two failed presidential runs.
Now, he’s president. But López Obrador still seems convinced that the institutions of Mexican democracy – its independent judiciary, its election watchdogs, its budget monitors – are against him.
Mexican voters had the option to strengthen López Obrador’s grasp on power. But they used the midterms to maintain democratic constraints on the presidency, checking an ambitious president’s legislative agenda.
This article has been corrected to more accurately characterize the ideological positioning of Mexico’s mainstream political parties.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
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