Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) limped to victory in a key state election on Sunday, according to preliminary projections of results that were quickly challenged by the leftist party beaten into second place. The party, however, was heading for a loss in one state and struggling in another. The putative win in the State of Mexico was a close call for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s PRI, which has governed it for nearly nine decades. It will not end the aspirations of leftists led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an early favorite for next year’s presidential race. Despite its apparent victory against a party that was only founded three years ago, the PRI still has to battle widespread anger at corruption and rising violent crime under Pena Nieto as the countdown starts for the July 2018 presidential election.
However, the peso reversed earlier losses and gained 0.59 percent on the setback for Lopez Obrador, a sign of ongoing market distrust of the leader who has opposed economic liberalization in Mexico.
With 83 percent of returns in from polling booths, PRI candidate Alfredo del Mazo had 33.0 percent of the vote compared with 31.2 percent for Delfina Gomez, the candidate of Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).
An official early count projection from the state’s electoral institute said del Mazo would end up winning between 32.75 percent and 33.59 percent of the vote. Gomez was seen taking no more than 31.53 percent.