After presidential elections, will Mexico become a more autocratic country or will it remain on a democratic path?

June 24, 2024

Claudia Sheinbaum, a climate scientist and former mayor of Mexico City, became Mexico's first female president with the highest vote percentage in the country’s democratic history. The electoral result has put Mexico in the spotlight for international actors. What does ICDR member Elda Lorena Becerra Mizuno think about the elections in Mexico?

Elda Lorena Becerra Mizuno

Member of the Forum 2000 Foundation Program Council, Program Board of the ICDR and DSLA, CEO, Becerra Mizuno Polling, Mexico

“Mexico’s June 2 election took the country by surprise. Even though Claudia Sheinbaum’s victory was long anticipated, a landslide win by her MORENA party had not been that apparent. The ruling party won a new state that had been controlled by the PAN right-wing party for decades, and held on to six governorships, including Mexico City. Thus, MORENA now governs 24 out of 32 states. Additionally, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s party will now control a constitutional majority in the lower chamber and is a handful of senators short of having the same scenario in the senate.

The electoral result has put Mexico in the spotlight for international actors because Sheinbaum campaigned on what she called “the second floor of the Fourth Transformation,” advocating for deep reforms in judicial power, the National Electoral Institute, and autonomous organs, pointing to a recentralization of power and what seems to constitute the elimination of the rule of law with no independent judiciary, as well as the abolition of independent institutions that oversee economic performance, competitiveness, and transparency.

With this victory, most of the speculation in the country has to do with how independent of the outgoing president, Lopez Obrador, Claudia Sheinbaum can be, how far she is willing to take this transformation agenda even at the cost of the peso weakening and the country’s investment risk increasing. And how strong she can become vis-à-vis the now hegemonic party.

 Sheinbaum should be sworn in by October, but the new Congress will be in place by September, leaving one month for Lopez Obrador to try to push his legislative agenda through. In the next couple of months, we are bound to see whether Mexico will become a more autocratic country, or whether it can remain on a democratic path, even with a weakened opposition and several figures within MORENA pushing for the radicalization of a populist agenda.”

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