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Column 072318 Wall

Monday, July 23, 2018

More on the 2018 Elections in Mexico

By Allan Wall 

Last July 1st was Mexico's presidential election. Mexico has its presidential elections every six years, and the winner is not eligible for reelection.

As the U.S. has its election every four years, this means that every twelve years both countries have elections the same years. For example, in 2000 and 2012, both countries had elections. 

This time, in 2018, the winner was Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who won with 53.1936% of the total vote.

Lopez Obrador, commonly referred to as AMLO from his initials in Spanish, is scheduled to take office on December 1st. See my previous article, Third Time's the Charm - AMLO Wins the Mexican Presidency http://www.mexidata.info/id4541.html.

But this wasn't just a presidential election. Mexican voters also voted for senators and representatives in the Mexican Congress. In eight states governors were chosen. In Mexico City a new government was elected. Throughout Mexico there were elections for state legislatures and municipal governments.

In all, there were more than 3,400 offices government positions voted upon. 

Let's take a look at some of the results.

THE MEXICAN CONGRESS 

Like the U.S. Congress, the Mexican Congress is bicameral.

The upper chamber is the Cámara de Senadores, or Senado, which is equivalent to the U.S. Senate.  The lower chamber is the Cámara de Diputados, equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

The Senate has 128 senators, 96 elected directly by voters and 32 chosen by proportional party representation.

The Chamber of Deputies has 500 deputies, 300 directly elected and 200 chosen by proportional party representation. 

The senators have six-year terms, the deputies have three-year terms.

In the 2018 election, AMLO's three-party coalition won a majority in Congress. 

In the Senate, AMLO's three-party Together We Will Make History coalition won 70 seats out of a 128 total.  The three-party For Mexico to the Front coalition, led by the PAN (National Action Party), won 38 seats.  The three-party coalition led by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Everybody for Mexico, won 20 seats.

In the Chamber of Deputies, AMLO's coalition won 312 seats out of 500.  The PAN-led coalition won 128 seats, while the PRI-led coalition won 60 seats. 

GOVERNORSHIPS

Eight states held gubernatorial elections. Here are the winners: 

1.    CHIAPAS - Rutilio Escandon Cadenas, of the MORENA (National Regeneration) Party, of the Together We Will Make History Coalition, won the election with 39.26% of the vote.

2.    MORELOS - Former soccer star and current Cuernavaca mayor Cuauhtemoc Blanco won, running as a member of the social conservative PES (Social Encounter Party), of the Together We Will Make History coalition, with 52.45% of the vote.

3.    TABASCO - Adan Augusto Lopez Hernandez of MORENA (Together We Will Make History coalition), won with 61.45% of the vote.

4.    VERACRUZ - Cuitlahuac Garcia Jimenez of MORENA (Together We Will Make History coalition) won with 44.03% of the vote.

5.    PUEBLA - Martha Erika Alonso Hidalgo of the PAN (For Puebla to the Front coalition) won with 38.14% of the vote.

6.    GUANAJUATO - Diego Sinhue Rodriguez Vallejo, of the PAN (For Guanajuato to the Front coalition) won with 49.94% of the vote.

7.    YUCATAN - Mauricio Vila Dosal of the PAN (For Yucatan to the Front coalition) won with 39.23% of the vote.

8.    JALISCO - Enrique Alfaro Ramirez of the MC (Citizen Movement party) won with 39.01% of the vote. Although MC was in coalition with For Mexico to the Front nationally, in Jalisco the party ran Alfaro on its own, not as part of a coalition.

So, if you look at the eight gubernatorial races, you see that four were won by candidates of AMLO's coalition (three by MORENA and one by PES), three by the PAN in PAN-led coalitions, and one by the Movimiento Ciudadano. 

MEXICO CITY

In Mexico City, an election was held for Jefe de Gobierno, Chief of Government, the top executive of the city. The winner was Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo of MORENA, the Together We Will Make History coalition, with 47.05% of the vote. Sheinbaum, a scientist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and is the first Jew to be elected head of Mexico City. 

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS - I'm currently visiting Mexico, where my wife (a Mexican citizen) voted on July 1st. I accompanied her to the polls and, as before, was impressed with the Mexican voter registration system, which we ought to emulate in the United States. We also visited another polling station where my wife's cousin was serving as the president of the polling station, a non-partisan, volunteer position. This was one of 13 distinct polling stations located at the same school.

Lopez Obrador won with a clear majority, and some of the people we know, who normally vote for another party, voted for AMLO. It seems that what Mexican voters want is change. 

PROSPECTS FOR AN AMLO PRESIDENCY - I wish AMLO the best, because I wish the best for Mexico. I don't think as some do, that AMLO is going to be another Hugo Chavez.

However, I think that AMLO needs to be careful, to be responsible, and not to damage Mexico's economy by spending too much money. AMLO has made a lot of promises. But he shouldn't break the bank, because in the long run that would be worse for Mexico. 

AMLO's goal of having an austere government is a good one, but he has to be careful about it.  For example, his promises to not have a presidential plane, to not reside in Los Pinos (the Mexican presidential residence), and not to have bodyguards are not prudent. AMLO has to realize that it's not just about him, it's about his position as President of Mexico.

The presidential plane is not a luxury, it is an asset to help him govern. Can you imagine how inconvenient it would be for other passengers if a President AMLO were to travel on a plane as a regular passenger? 

As for not having bodyguards, that's just crazy.  As president of Mexico, his safety is the government's safety. AMLO may believe that "the people" are going to protect him, but you can't account for all of the people insofar as there can always be someone, for whatever reason, who wants to do the president harm. And sometimes even people with good intentions can cause problems. Large crowds of people, if not managed properly, can cause harm.

These are things that AMLO really needs to reconsider. I hope he will. 

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.

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