Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador appeared on the verge of losing the two-thirds majority in Mexico’s House of Representatives needed to make constitutional changes, in the midterm elections that he portrayed as a referendum on his rule.
But in a positive development for the populist president, his ruling party in Morena claimed to have effectively passed the elections for state governors.
Official forecasts are that Morena and his allies will lead at least 58 percent of the 500-seat House of Representatives, or as many as 298, according to Lorenzo Cordova, president of the National Electoral Institute (INE).
But the results appear to fall far short of the numbers that Morena and her allies enjoyed in the first half of the president’s only six-year term.
“He didn’t get the results he was looking for . . . probably [the president] Political commentator Jorge Zepeda Patterson told Milenio Television.
Mexicans voted on Sunday in biggest election In the country’s history for the entire House of Representatives as well as 15 of Mexico’s 32 states, as well as more than 20,000 local offices.
Morena leader Mario Delgado earlier hailed what he called a “historic victory” in which he said Morena would sweep 12 of the 15 states that were within reach. Although several opposing candidates were declared winners in several states, official results in those races were pending.
According to INE forecasts, Morena could end up with 190-203 seats in the House of Representatives, confirming that it is easily the most popular party. Cordova said her allied parties – the Greens, Labor and the PES – could get another 95 seats.
However, it was not certain that the PES party would cross the 3 percent threshold needed to keep its record; Estimates from the National Institute of Statistics that he will win between zero and six seats. Without the PES, the National Statistics Institute said Morena, the Greens and Labor could win 265 to 292 seats.
Before the elections, Morena and her allies had 334 seats and Morena alone had 256.
The opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, the National Action Party and the Democratic Revolution Party collaborated to form an opposition bloc. Marco Cortes, leader of the National Action Party, said the partnership had succeeded in depriving the ruling coalition of a “qualified majority with whom it has abused power over the past three years”.
“The majority of Mexicans want to correct the country’s direction,” he said.
Lopez Obrador, who says he is bringing about a profound transformation in Mexico, eliminating corruption and raising living standards for the poor, did not immediately comment on the results. Political analysts said he might challenge any adverse outcome.
Ciro Murayama, a member of the electoral council at the National Institute of Statistics, said the expected results showed that two out of three Mexicans do not support the ruling party.
Movimento Ciudadano, who did not join the opposition Alliance for Mexico bloc, received as many as 27 votes, according to the National Statistics Institute. However, even if it sought to play the role of kingmaker, its seats would not be enough to give the ruling coalition the 334 seats it needed for a constitutional majority.
Lopez Obrador has already passed legislation seeking to overturn the constitutional reforms in the energy sector passed by his predecessor, but the laws are expected to face challenges in the Supreme Court.
The peso was little changed at around 19.90 to the US dollar.