Mexico votes with president’s ‘transformation’ at stake

MEXICO CITY: Mexicans voted Sunday in legislative elections seen as a referendum on President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s greater than two years in workplace overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic and cartel-related violence.
The polls, that are thought-about key to Lopez Obrador’s promised “transformation” of the nation, have been marred by the murders of dozens of politicians within the months main as much as the vote.
On the eve of the election, gunmen killed 5 folks serving to to arrange voting in southern Mexico, whereas the authorities reported remoted incidents of violence on polling day.
The midterm elections will choose the five hundred members of the decrease home of Congress, 15 of 32 state governors and 1000’s of native politicians.
Lopez Obrador was elected in 2018 for a time period of six years, vowing to overtake Mexico’s “neoliberal” financial mannequin, root out corruption and finish profligacy by a privileged elite.
“Voters are selecting actually between two competing visions of Mexico and its future,” Pamela Starr, professor on the University of Southern California, stated in a panel dialogue.
The way forward for the left-wing populist’s reform agenda — akin to searching for better vitality independence — hinges on whether or not voters punish him for points such because the pandemic.
“They by no means had a plan and so they nonetheless do not,” stated Claudia Cervantes, a hospital employee.
But another voters akin to Tania Calderon have been prepared to present the ruling celebration extra time.
“Without the pandemic, the federal government would have finished higher,” the 37-year-old stated.
Polling stations closed throughout a lot of the nation at 6:00 pm (2300 GMT) after 10 hours of voting, the authorities stated, with early official outcomes anticipated late Sunday.
Mexico’s financial system, the second-largest in Latin America, plunged by 8.5 p.c in 2020 within the worst stoop in many years, though the federal government predicts a rebound this yr.
Despite greater than 1 / 4 of one million coronavirus deaths — one of many world’s highest tolls — the 67-year-old president continues to take pleasure in public approval scores above 60 p.c.
Deaths and infections from Covid-19 have fallen steadily for a number of months, helped by a vaccination marketing campaign.
Lopez Obrador owes a lot of his reputation to his social welfare applications geared toward serving to the aged and deprived Mexicans.
His supporters say he’s their first president to place the pursuits of the Mexican majority, lots of whom stay in poverty, earlier than these of the rich elite.
The president’s critics accuse him of a harmful tilt in direction of authoritarianism with assaults on the judiciary and the National Electoral Institute.
“Long stay democracy,” Lopez Obrador declared Sunday after voting.
The ruling coalition has had a two-thirds supermajority within the decrease home of Congress that enabled Lopez Obrador to amend the structure with out negotiating together with his opponents.
The president’s Morena celebration and its allies have been projected to see their majority within the decrease home, the Chamber of Deputies, shrink barely from 333 seats to 322, based on a ballot of polls by the Oraculus agency.
The predominant opposition events — the centrist PRI, the conservative PAN and the left-wing PRD — stay weakened by Lopez Obrador’s 2018 landslide victory.
Sunday’s vote has been marred by a wave of political bloodshed that has seen greater than 90 politicians murdered for the reason that electoral course of started in September.
In the southern state of Chiapas, gunmen killed 5 folks on Saturday in an assault that coincided with the supply of poll packing containers and different voting supplies.
A manhunt was launched for the perpetrators, whose motives weren’t instantly recognized.
In Guerrero, one of many nation’s most violent areas, additionally positioned in southern Mexico, members of a neighborhood police power stored watch over voting.
“Members of organized crime come to divide the folks. They do not allow them to vote freely,” stated neighborhood police chief Isaias Posotema.

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