HARLINGEN, Texas – The Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholars and the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council host a webinar recently on Mexico’s upcoming mid-term elections.

The election takes place June 6. It will be the largest election in Mexico’s history with electors choosing candidates for over 21,000 offices. 

The election marks the halfway point in President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s term of office. Analysts see it as a referendum on his first three years in office. 

“The outcome of this election will determine the extent to which López Obrador can implement his agenda and national reforms. With a weak and divided opposition, López Obrador’s ruling party, Morena, is expected to maintain control in Congress,” the Mexico Institute says.

Among the speakers was Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a former associate professor in the Department of Public Affairs and Security Studies at UT-Rio Grande Valley. Correa-Cabrera is now associate professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Her areas of expertise are Mexico-U.S. relations, organized crime, immigration, border security, social movements and human trafficking.

“What is this election about? It is about two political forces,” Correa-Cabrera said.

“One, of course, is AMLO’s project, the Morena project, with all its limitations and strengths. And, also, the groups that try to restore the previous regime – the regime that López Obrador called the neoliberal regime.”

Correa-Cabrera added: “I don’t think that the United States understands the complexity of Mexico today. And why is this? Because when I read some of the statements, for example, in terms of security or energy, it’s if as in the United States there is this idea that we are in the 1990s or we are in the first decade of the twenty-first century and we’re not like that.” 

Andrew I. Rudman is director of the Mexico Institute. During the webinar, he said: “All elections are important, and each is described as more important, more consequential than the last. But, at the risk of following that hyperbole, I would argue that this election is indeed the most important and consequential in Mexico’s relatively brief democratic history, with significant political power at stake.”

Alejandro Moreno is a professor of political science at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and  director of public opinion polling for El Financiero.

“We expect Morena to advance significantly in the number of states that they govern. At least 8 or 9 of the 15 states are looking like serious wins for Morena,” Moreno said. 

“But, the majority in congress for Morena is uncertain. I think that both voters and the election rules have something to do here. How voters behave but also how the rules of translating votes into legislative seats are applied.”

Denise Dresser is a Mexican political analyst, columnist and academic, and professor of political science at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.

Dresser said during the webinar: “Many in Mexico hope that López Obrador’s government is going to produce, eventually, politics and an economy that are genuinely more inclusive. But others fear that he is pushing the country backward by resurrecting dominant party rule, increasing presidential power, and stoking nationalism. As Alejandro’s data shows, a polarized Mexico is caught between two forces: anger with those who have governed so badly in the past and hope mixed with trepidation regarding those who appear to be abusing their power now.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story and podcast shows a flag promoting Carlos Peña Ortiz, Morena candidate for mayor of Reynosa in the 2021 elections. Peña Ortiz is hoping to succeed his mother, Maki Ortiz Dominguez as mayor of Reynosa. Ortiz Dominguez is a member of the PAN party.

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