In Election Marred by Gang Violence, Mexico’s Ruling Party Likely to Maintain Majority

Jaime Rodríguez, who is poised to be Mexico's first independent governor. (Image: Estefania Acevedo, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Jaime Rodríguez, who is poised to be Mexico's first independent governor. (Image: Estefania Acevedo, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Top Story — In congressional elections marred by gang violence and widespread protests, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party is expected to keep a slight majority as polls closed Sunday.

The elections were seen as a litmus test for Peña Nieto, who has faced discontent over poor economic growth and several conflict-of-interest scandals. In addition to protests, the lead-up to the elections also saw drug cartels kill seven candidates and at least nine election officials.

Though the president’s party is expected to maintain its majority, the country’s first ever independent gubernatorial candidate was leading in the northern Nuevo León state, according to exit polls conducted by several media outlets.

This was the first election in Mexico’s history to allow independent candidates after an electoral reform was passed last year. Jaime Rodríguez, known as “El Bronco” after surviving two assassination attempts while mayor of the city of Monterrey, has said he’ll wait until final results are in to celebrate victory in Nuevo León.

Though for the most part the elections took place peacefully, several states experienced boycotts and protests, including the burning of ballot boxes. In Oaxaca state, which has been a focal point of teacher protests, several fires were set and the Organization of American States was forced to suspend its observer mission.

Final results are expected on Monday afternoon.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter was hit by multiple rounds of gunfire on Friday, allegedly shot from the Mexican side of the border, forcing it into an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas.

Caribbean

  • Ten million dollars meant for a FIFA Caribbean diaspora program were instead used by former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner for personal cash withdrawals, loans and money laundering, according to a BBC investigation.
  • Ahead of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, The New York Times profiles Jose Ortiz, a New York City-based musician and “a man on a mission to reconnect Puerto Ricans with their roots, not just on their island, but in Africa.”

Central America

  • Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on Friday to demand a corruption investigation into top officials and the resignation President Juan Orlando Hernández, who revealed last Wednesday that his electoral campaign received funds connected to an unfolding corruption scandal.

Andes

  • A new law in Bolivia that grants oil and gas companies hydrocarbon operation rights in protected environmental areas has sparked concern from indigenous and environmental groups.
  • The former Prime Minister of Spain Felipe González arrived in Venezuela on Sunday to begin the process of aiding the defense strategy of jailed opposition leaders, such as Leopoldo López.

Southern Cone

  • The reunion between an Argentine grandmother, Estella Carlotto, and her grandson, who was stolen during the country’s dictatorship, has gained international attention after Carlotto fought for over thirty years to find her grandchild along with the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
  • A U.S. judge added $5.4 billion to Argentina’s total debt to holdout bondholders in a ruling Friday, which the Argentine government says it is planning to appeal.
  • In yet another setback for Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, one of the left-leaning leader’s recently appointed ministers stepped down on Sunday amid criticism of his dealings with mining companies as a congressman.

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