The party of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto appears to have won a majority of legislative seats in Sunday’s midterm elections as votes continued to be tallied on Monday, suggesting that widespread dissatisfaction will not prevent Peña Nieto from putting forward his agenda over the second half of his presidency.
The election of at least 251 members affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s coalition — out of the 500 seats in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies — appeared highly likely late on Monday with 95 percent of votes counted, a polling expert told The Associated Press. The majority, once it is confirmed, means Peña Nieto will be able to press ahead with his ambitious agenda.
The PRI, nonetheless, lost its grip on the governorship of Nuevo León state, a race won by Jaime Rodríguez, or “El Bronco,” the first independent candidate elected governor since a 2011 reform allowing candidates to run on their own. The party also seems to have lost its hold on the mayoralty of Cuernavaca, a city south of the capital, where ex-soccer star Cuahtémoc Blanco appears to have won on an opposition ticket. Another opposition candidate was elected mayor in the major city of Guadalajara — another victory wrested from the PRI.
That the PRI and its main coalition partner the Green Party did not lose more races may have come as a surprise to some, amid discontent that sharpened in the past year due to factors like the disappearance in September of 43 teacher trainees in Guerrero state. In that state, protesters targeted several polling sites on Sunday, burning ballots in some cases. In neighboring Oaxaca, teachers protesting Peña Nieto’s education reform efforts boycotted the election, despite the recent reversal of one of the reform package’s main policies.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, son of a Cuban immigrant, is being eclipsed by Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Governor Jeb Bush when it comes to attracting the conservative Latino vote, according to Hispanic leaders polled by Reuters.
- Tropical Storm Bianca hit the Baja California Peninsula on Monday, with rains expected through Tuesday despite the storm’s loss of strength throughout the day.
- Foreign companies in Cuba are increasingly looking for opportunities to invest, but Reuters cautions that the country’s bureaucracy, strictly regimented labor market and byzantine legal system still present obstacles to doing business.
- Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner is under investigation by U.S. prosecutors over the disappearance of aid money meant for Haitian earthquake victims.
- In an article for The Nation magazine, writer Roberto Lovato compares El Salvador’s current cartel violence to the country’s 12-year civil war.
- Two french tourists who were lost in Panama’s jungle have been rescued, according to government officials.
- Seventeen people, including several schoolchildren and a teacher, were killed in a bus accident in a remote region of the Peruvian Andes.
- A French woman is on trial for allegedly running a pyramid scheme that conned thousands of Chileans into buy a kit they could use to make “magic cheese.”