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Reflections on the Electoral Process in Mexico

The opposition, although with catastrophic results — the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) did not reach the 3% threshold to maintain its registration — will govern in 14 of 32 state capitals.

On Sunday, June 2, more than 98 million Mexicans had the right to go to the polls to participate in the largest electoral process in the country’s history. It was a contest in which three candidates for the presidency of the Republic faced each other, and for the first time a woman will head the nation’s highest office.

For this process, 20,708 positions were elected, including nine governorships, 300 federal deputies, of which 44 are considered indigenous and 63 nominations for affirmative actions, that is, nominations for people in vulnerable conditions regarding the rest of the candidates, such as people with disabilities or gender and sexual diversity, among others.

In this framework, where Mexican democracy seeks to consolidate its strength in these almost three decades of autonomous electoral bodies, the electoral authority must guarantee the necessary conditions so that the electoral process can be carried out in conditions of peace, harmony, certainty and legality, so that each citizen can be sure that his or her vote will be counted and will have the value that he or she contributes to the election.

Candidates, political parties and participating teams must respect the rules, present their proposals and convince the electorate with arguments. It is important to emphasize, in a country with so much inequality, the need to analyze government plans, compare them and promote a culture of informed voting.

The government, for its part, must fulfill its role of contributing to the good performance of the electoral process, avoid the use of public resources and generate conditions of trust for the respect of the results.

Once the elements described above have been configured, the eye and vigilance of the international community to guarantee compliance with the law is fundamental. The success of an electoral process does not lie exclusively in the respect for the results, but also in their legitimacy, accepted by all political forces, the candidates, the media, and society as a whole.

Thus, in a context of polarization framed by campaign violence, the Mexican elections were able to be held in conditions of peace and harmony. In this regard, it should be noted that on Election Day there were few outbreaks of violence that were foreseen for several states, especially when in the previous days an opposition candidate was executed in the middle of a political campaign closing event in the state of Guerrero, an entity marked by high levels of violence.

On the other hand, there were high participation rates in entities such as Yucatán, Tlaxcala, Mexico City, Puebla and Coahuila, where more than 65% of the people registered in the nominal list were able to participate. It is also highlighted that the national participation barely exceeded sixty percent, when it was expected that more than the 63.4% that was obtained in 2018 would turn out.

In the final results, it could be observed that the candidate Claudia Sheinbaum, nominated by the Morena, Green Ecologist and Labor parties, obtained 59.8% of the votes, while the opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez, from the National Action, Institutional Revolutionary and Democratic Revolution parties, barely reached 27.5% of the support. It is noteworthy that the candidate of Movimiento Ciudadano, Jorge Álvarez, obtained 10.3% of the votes, a situation that places his party in a position of clear growth, especially in urban areas.

For the governorships, Morena obtains seven out of nine in dispute, while it will have an absolute majority in 27 local congresses and, according to the projections of several analyses, it will have it in the Chamber of Deputies and will be a couple of seats away from obtaining it in the Senate.

On the other hand, the opposition, although showing catastrophic results, which even put an end to the life of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), which does not reach the 3% threshold to keep its registration, will govern in 14 out of 32 state capitals.

It is important to highlight that after 2018 the opposition parties did not know how to rebuild themselves. The results indicate that they did not even manage to sustain their structures inside the country, confirming a disarticulation between the presidential campaign and the political parties. The latter were evidenced in the integration of the lists of proportional representation for the Congress, leaving aside the interests of their militancy or of the civil society organizations, who had supported the candidacy of Xóchitl Galvez and who, according to the results, would have contributed more votes than the parties themselves.

Sheinbaum’s candidacy had the support of the president, the entire structure of the party in government and the discourse of continuity, which permeated all the socioeconomic structures of the country and facilitated the comfortable triumph. Turning toward the most unprotected population, providing resources to millions of families, generated an accumulation of support that translated into more than 35 million votes, surpassing even the numbers of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2018.

It is important to highlight that there are many tasks to be carried out. First, in electoral matters, it is essential to review the scheme of pre-campaign and campaign activities. Although the electoral process officially began in September of last year, there are multiple indications that it factually began in mid-2021. This would allow the Electoral Tribunal to determine, in the first instance, whether these possible acts create a scenario of clear advantage for one of the candidates.

The issues of campaign financing and acts of violence should be evaluated to improve the criteria for auditing and reduce the interference of external agents in the electoral process, which often leads to violence. Electoral participation rates are also a concern, being necessary to review the strategies that enable the state — meaning all institutions as a whole — to focus on building political culture and democratic responsibility.

*Translated by Janaína Ruviaro da Silva from the original in Spanish.


National Coordinator of Electoral Transparency for Mexico and Central America. Master in Governance, Political Marketing and Strategic Communication from King Juan Carlos University (Spain). University professor.


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