Long lines and violent episodes in the largest elections in the history of Mexico

In the midst of strict health protocols, 93 million Mexicans were called to participate in a key process for the interests of Lpez Obrador

Queue to vote in Atzacoaloya, Guerrero state.EDGARD GARRIDOREUTERS

At the gates of an electoral center in the Lamos neighborhood, in the interior of the Mexican capital, Lorena Vzquez proudly displays her ink-stained thumb after having participated in the largest elections in the history of the country. He is 87 years old and has a long list of elections behind him, but he does not remember any appointment like this. To cast her vote, she is a retired octogenarian you had to queue for over an hour, bring your mask, her own pen and enter the center alone, leaving out the family members who accompany her. The sanitary restrictions imposed by the pandemic have slowed down the voting process of an untold date in which Andrs Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) aspires to strengthen its power in Mxico.

Vzquez has no problem recognizing that he has ticked the official Morena box on all the ballots, “the President (AMLO) needs all of our support to approve his reforms,” ​​he explains to EL MUNDO. Unlike her, Lus Marn, a 58-year-old electrician, has opted for the coalition ‘Va por México’, which brings together the three main opposition partiesDespite being ideologically antagonistic, “I still do not believe that part of my votes will go to the PAN, I never thought I would end up supporting them, but it is the only thing we can do to stop this president.” The long wait and the questions ignite the debate among the voters, in a scene that is repeated in the 163,000 polling stations set up throughout the country.

President López Obrador had to walk only a few meters to reach his voting center, located on the side of the National Palace where he resides. The box was opened 53 minutes later than expected, in a clear example of the logistical problems posed by this appointment, and the first in line had to give their place to the president and his wife, the historian Beatriz Gutirrez Mller, who cast their vote shortly after 9 in the morning. “Long live democracy!”, AMLO expressed to the media before beginning his return to the Palace, from where he has followed the development of the electoral day.

About 100,000 National Guard agents have been deployed throughout the country to protect the integrity of one of the most violent electoral processes in memory. On the eve of the appointment, the political consultant Etellekt confirmed in its last update that, in the last eight months, 910 attacks against politicians have been registered -record figure of the historical series- as well as 91 fatalities. Everything indicates that these figures will continue to grow today. Three years ago, the same day that López Obrador won the elections, seven politicians were assassinateds. Yesterday the day began with the murder of five members of the PRD party in Chiapas and the unusual incident recorded in two polling stations in Tijuana, where two human heads were thrown.

In statements to EL MUNDO, the president of the National Electoral Institute, Lorenzo Crdova, points out that, despite the violence, the integrity of the process is guaranteed, “it is not that the election is the one that triggers that violence, rather, violence is part of the ordinary landscape and we have to organize ourselves in that context. Violence against political actors is serious, but the organization of the election is not at risk. “Crdova acknowledges that these elections are being” the most difficult in the last 30 years, “since” organizing elections in Mexico is complex, we have structural problems like corruption or poverty and now we are facing a pandemic and the biggest elections in history. ”

More than 93 million Mexicans were called to the polls this Sunday, although everything indicates that participation will be reduced by the pandemic. In a single day, 20,500 public positions at all levels will be renewed, including 15 governorships, 30 state assemblies, 1,923 city councils and 500 legislators from the Chamber of Deputies. All the polls agree that Morena could win at least 8 governorships, but will lose ground in the Lower House. The objective of Lpez Obrador is to obtain, together with his allies, the qualified majority that will allow him to undertake the deep reforms your project requires -Many of them imply modifying the Constitution- but the latest polls do not guarantee it.

After the closing of the polls decreed at eight o’clock yesterday night, the rapid counting mechanism will draw a preliminary scenario of the results that must be validated by the official scrutiny. The INE has reiterated that today they will be announced, although it warns that, in remote parts of the country, the results may take several days to be confirmed. Mexicans will live the next hours ‘glued’ to television to know what color the political map is in their mayor, municipality or state and, also, if López Obrador and his allies will be able to enjoy a great legislative capacity in the second half of the six-year term.

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