MEXICO CITY (AP) — Morena, the party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, consolidated itself as the country’s main political force by winning the governorship of the State of Mexico on Sunday, a victory that ended nearly a century of Party rule. Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) in the most populous entity in the nation and bastion of the centennial organization.
Although the data was still preliminary, the quick count released by the state electoral institute on Sunday, an official estimate attributed to 95% reliability, placed Morena’s candidate, Delfina Gómez, nine points ahead. of Alejandra del Moral, representative of a coalition headed by the PRI, who recognized her defeat with dignity, something unusual in Mexican politics.
After midnight, with 83% of the votes counted, that margin was more than eight points.
The PRI, however, would maintain power in the northern state of Coahuila – the other region that elected governor on Sunday – where, with 89% scrutinized, its candidate prevailed by 35 points over the Morena candidate who, unlike what occurred in the State of Mexico, did not have the support of parties allied with López Obrador.
Before finishing the count, the results in the State of Mexico were already being analyzed in a national key as the prelude to next year’s presidential elections, where Morena also started as a favorite.
Observers drew several conclusions from election day. According to political scientist Georgina de la Fuente, the first was the defeat of the PRI in one of its strongholds, a painful loss, although not as strong as expected. The second was that “Morena by herself, she is not necessarily invincible.” And the third that the parties now had to reconfigure their strengths and coalitions for 2024.
But the academic from the private Tecnológico de Monterrey university highlighted another perhaps less visible one: that “the effectiveness of our electoral system has been proven”, something very relevant to highlight after the “onslaught that the electoral authorities have been facing in recent months due to part of the ruling party.
Perhaps the best example of this was the words of Alejandra del Moral when acknowledging her defeat. “In a democracy, in order to win you have to know how to lose, and I am a democrat,” she said as soon as the official estimates were known.
Meanwhile, at the headquarters of Morena de Toluca, the capital of the State of Mexico, the party was growing.
“There is going to be a different governance,” said Delfina Gómez. The teacher, who was competing for the governorship for the second time, promised to deepen the so-called “fourth transformation” that López Obrador has led since 2018.
Gómez, who would be the first woman to govern the entity, raised several priorities for her future government on Sunday night: a commitment to the mothers of the disappeared and victims of femicide and the call to report all acts of corruption.
The State of Mexico, a region that combines suburbs, popular towns and agricultural communities, is an important economic center of the country but also one of the scenarios where the main evils of the nation come together: inequality, violence and corruption.
That was one of the reasons why boredom prevailed after almost a hundred years of PRI rule.
“We want change, that they listen to us,” complained Rufina Pérez, a retiree from Naucalpan, a northwestern suburb of Mexico City. “Everyone promises us, PRI, PAN have already passed, we already know how it was,” added the woman who was confident that with Morena things would begin to be different.
However, the need for a change of course that many advocated did not translate into a large turnout of voters, as half of the electorate stayed at home.
“The elections don’t seem to have aroused much spirit,” said Miguel Agustín López Moreno, a political scientist and worker in a social organization in Ecatepec, one of the largest municipalities in the state.
López Moreno attributed Morena’s victory to the many resources invested by that party, but it was not so clear to him that the situation of the population would change substantially. He considered that what was foreseeable was that the ruling party would intensify its social programs, which, in some way, was a way of expanding its clientele network.
In fact, some voters recognized that pragmatism had prevailed in their choice of vote. Benito Elizalde, a retired workshop worker who had always voted for the PRI, said that he would now vote for Morena because he was the one who offered him a little more pension. Her 35-year-old daughter, Claudia Elizalde, complained that the parties had focused on supporting the elderly, forgetting what was important: safety or health.
Curiously, some that supported Del Moral’s coalition also called for changes. “In the State of Mexico, what worries us the most is security,” said Víctor Manuel Olmos, who described himself as a PAN voter from Naucalpan.
Faced with the defeat of the PRI in the State of Mexico, the hegemonic party in the country for seven decades of the 20th century and which managed to return to the presidency from 2012 to 2018, would maintain the government of the state of Coahuila, an entity on the border with the United States. United with two million voters who also voted on Sunday and who offered lessons for the 2024 presidential elections.
In both states, the PRI was in collusion with the conservative National Action Party and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, in an attempt to defeat the ruling party, which only prevailed when it showed unity. The 35-point advantage of PRI member Manuel Jiménez in Coahuila was achieved because the coalition that supported the federal government presented three different candidates.
“I would be careful to say that it is the end of the PRI,” said López Moreno, because it is a party with many years, experience, and even if it has problems with diligence, it can be restructured. And, for him, the question with Morena is how long and how far a party centered on one figure, López Obrador, can grow without the risk of fragmenting.