Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Opposition Parties Defeat P.R.I. in Two Gubernatorial Races & Mexico City Mayoral Election

Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Opposition Parties Defeat P.R.I. in Two Gubernatorial Races & Mexico City Mayoral Election

Article excerpt

The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) lost more than the presidency and control of the Congress in the July 2 federal elections, also suffering a resounding defeat in the gubernatorial and state legislative races in Guanajuato and Morelos states, and in the mayoral election in Mexico City.

The PRI also lost the state legislative elections in Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, Sonora, and Mexico state. But the party was able to win a majority in the state legislative races in Colima, San Luis Potosi, and Campeche states.

The PAN, meanwhile, won mayoral elections in several large cities, including Monterrey, Hermosillo, Toluca, San Luis Potosi, and Queretaro. But the party lost the mayoral race in the capital city of Guanajuato to the center-left Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD).

PRD retains control over Mexico City

The PRD retained control of the mayoral seat in Mexico City in a closer-than-anticipated race.

PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who had been leading in public-opinion polls by as much 10 points, obtained 36% of the vote. Columnist Sergio Sarmiento said some forecasters had projected Lopez Obrador to win the election by a wider margin than the 48% received by Cuauhtemoc Cardenas in 1997.

But the PRD candidate faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from Santiago Creel of the center-right Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), who had been running in third place in most pre-election polls. Creel, who received 33% of the vote, apparently benefitted from the strong showing of fellow PAN member Vicente Fox in the presidential race. Fox won the presidential race with 43% of the vote (see other article in this issue of SourceMex).

The biggest loser in the Mexico City election turned out to be PRI candidate Jesus Silva Herzog, who received only 22% of the vote.

The PRI's poor showing in the capital was also reflected in the elections for seats in the Mexico City legislature (Asamblea Legislativa del Distrito Federal, ALDF). The governing party failed to win even one of the 40 seats up for direct election. But the PRI is assured of some representation in the 66-seat ALDF, since the party will receive five of the 26 at-large seats allocated on the percentage of votes received by each party.

The PRD and its coalition partners split the directly elected seats with the alliance formed by the PAN and the Partido Verde Ecologista Mexicano (PVEM).

Initial statistics released by the Instituto Electoral del Distrito Federal (IEDF) had the PRD-led coalition taking 22 seats and the PAN-PVEM 18 seats. But this trend was reversed after late ballots were counted. As of late July 4, the PAN-PVEM was leading in 21 districts, and the PRD coalition in 19.

The final count will have a bearing on the control of the ALDF, since this will determine the number of at-large seats allocated to each coalition. Regardless of how many seats each party receives, mayor-elect Lopez Obrador will not have the large majority in the ALDF enjoyed by Cardenas following the 1997 election. In that election, the PRD won 38 of the electoral districts (see SourceMex, 1997-07-09)

PAN sweeps Guanajuato elections

The center-right Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) won resounding victories in the gubernatorial, legislative, and mayoral races in Guanajuato, home state of president-elect Vicente Fox. …

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