Mex­ico rul­ing party wins Congress

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY LAU­RENT THOMET

Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent Enrique Pena Ni­eto’s party re­tained its sim­ple ma­jor­ity in Congress on Sun­day de­spite his fall­ing ap­proval rat­ings and vi­o­lent elec­tion day protests in sev­eral states.

Com­bined with its al­lies, the In­sti­tu­tional Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Party (PRI) could win be­tween 246 and 263 seats in the 500-mem­ber lower cham­ber of Congress, com­pared to 251 to­day, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates by the Na­tional Elec­toral In­sti­tute.

The elec­tions, which in­cluded races for hun­dreds of may­ors and nine gov­er­nors, were marred by protests in south­ern states where rad­i­cal teach­ers an­gry at Pena Ni­eto’s ed­u­ca­tion re­forms burned bal­lot boxes in a failed bid to thwart the midterm vote.

Na­tional Elec­toral In­sti­tute pres­i­dent Lorenzo Cordova said that the over­all elec­tion process was “pos­i­tive” de­spite “in­ci­dents in cer­tain ar­eas.”

While the PRI and its al­lies held on to the lower cham­ber of Congress, a po­lit­i­cal shock­wave loomed in the north­ern industrial state of Nuevo Leon.

Exit polls showed Jaime Ro­driguez Calderon, a foul-mouthed rancher dubbed “El Bronco,” will be­come the first in­de­pen­dent can­di­date to be elected gover­nor since a 2014 elec­toral re­form, rid­ing a wave of dis­con­tent against cor­rupt politi­cians.

“This will be a cit­i­zens’ gov­ern­ment in Nuevo Leon. Nuevo Leon will be the be­gin­ning of a sec­ond Mex­i­can revo­lu­tion,” Ro­driguez told sup­port­ers af­ter a TV Azteca poll gave him a six-point lead over the PRI’s can­di­date.

Gov­ern­ment ‘not so bad’

But na­tion­ally Mex­i­cans kept the PRI on top.

Pena Ni­eto’s party is ex­pected to win be­tween 29.87 and 30.85 per­cent of the con­gres­sional bal­lots, slightly less than in the 2012 elec­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Elec­toral In­sti­tute.

This would give the PRI be­tween 196 and 203 seats, fewer than the 207 won in 2012. But the Green Party could get 41 to 48 seats while an­other ally, the New Al­liance, would get nine to 12 seats.

“The mes­sage at the bal­lot box is that this gov­ern­ment hasn’t been bad in the past three years,” said Jose An­to­nio Cre­spo, po­lit­i­cal ex­pert at the Eco­nomic Re­search and Teach­ing Cen­ter.

Cre­spo said it was the first time since 1991 that a gov­ern­ment did not dramatically lose votes in a midterm elec­tion.

With fewer votes than three years ago, the con­ser­va­tive Na­tional Ac­tion Party (PAN) would get 105-116 seats, com­pared to 113 now.

The night’s big­gest loser was the left­ist Demo­cratic Revo­lu­tion Party (PRD), which would get 51-60 seats, a big drop from 99 to­day.

“It’s mag­nif­i­cent for the PRI and the pres­i­dent be­cause they re­tain con­trol of Congress,” said Luis Car­los Ugalde, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the elec­toral in­sti­tute and founder of the po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tancy In­te­gralia Con­sul­tores.

“The most im­por­tant de­feat is in Nuevo Leon (where ‘El Bronco’ is tipped to win).”

AFP

A girl walks along the sur­round­ing wall of the Djin­garey­ber Mosque on Satur­day, June 6, in Tim­buktu, dur­ing the joint op­er­a­tion “La Ma­dine 3” part of the French Army’s “Op­er­a­tion Barkhane,” an anti-ter­ror­ist op­er­a­tion in the Sa­hel.

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