Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian’s work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
Mexico will hold legislative and presidential elections on Sunday, July 1, with the president to be elected for a six-year term beginning December 1. Unlike many other countries that use runoffs for presidential elections where no candidate wins a first=round majority, Mexico uses first=past-the=post. Polls will close at 10am on Monday Australian eastern standard time, and vote count reporting will start at noon. Unless the result is very close, the presidential winner will be declared at 3pm Monday Melbourne time.
The left-wing candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is known by the initials of his four names (AMLO), recorded over 50% support among decided voters in three final polls published Wednesday. AMLO’s lead over his closest rival was at least twenty points. The two other major candidates are Ricardo Anaya, who leads a right-left coalition, and José Antonio Meade, the candidate of the current governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Most polls have Anaya in second place, but a long way behind AMLO.
At the 2006 and 2012 Mexican elections, AMLO was the runner-up, losing by 0.6% in 2006 and 6.6% in 2012. The PRI had dominated Mexican elections in the twentieth century, until they were defeated in 2000 by Vicente Fox of Alliance for Change (PAN). If AMLO wins over 50% of the vote, it will be the first time a candidate has won a majority since 1988.
AMLO’s lead has been attributed to chronic violent crime and corruption, but Donald Trump is likely also a factor. From the moment he announced his presidential run, Trump’s malice towards Mexicans and non-white US immigrants has been clear. While all the major party candidates oppose Trump, AMLO is ideologically the most anti-Trump candidate, which has assisted him.
Three hundred of the 500 members of the lower house are elected by first-past-the=post, and the remainder by proportional representation. Ninety-six of the 128 Senators are elected in thirty-two three-member electorates based on the states; in these electorates, the winning party wins two seats, and the runner-up one. The remaining thirty-two Senators are elected by proportional representation. AMLO’s MORENA party is also expected to do well in the legislative elections.