Despite widespread disillusionment with his government, President Enrique Peña Nieto on Monday emerged from midterm elections with an expected congressional majority that will let him forge ahead with his reform agenda without compromising with opponents.
With 95 percent of the ballots counted, Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and its two coalition partners received about 40 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election.
Under Mexico’s mixed system of direct and proportional elections for congressional seats, analysts predicted the PRI coalition will ultimately control 245 to 263 seats in the 500-seat legislature.
“I can assure you that Peña Nieto will be able to put together a majority with certainty,” said Roy Campos, director of the Mitofsky polling firm. “Having 251, which is what he needs, is practically a done deal.”
But “if the government measures the electoral result as an endorsement,” Campos added, “that means they didn’t understand this vote.”
Halfway through Peña Nieto’s six-year term, the election was widely seen as a referendum on a government whose approval ratings have been hit by scandals over real estate deals with government contractors, a less dynamic economy than expected and ongoing security concerns, as well as suspected massacres of civilians and the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 students who were grabbed by police last September.