Overwhelming Expression of People’s
Desire for Change
In what has been referred to as an electoral tsunami, on July 1 the Mexican people expressed their desire for change in an overwhelming show of strength by electing Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his Together We Will Make History (Juntos Haremon Historia) coalition to the Presidency of the Republic. Not only did Mexican citizens favour AMLO for President, they also formed an absolute majority in the two chambers of the Mexican Congress by electing deputies and senators who were candidates of AMLO’s coalition made up of his National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) Party, the Labour Party (Partido del Trabajo — PT) and Social Encounter Party (Partido Encuentro Social — PES). In addition, the coalition won five of the nine governorships up for election.
The same phenomenon took hold across the country with the election of mayors and councillors. More than 50 per cent of the 17,000 seats to be filled at this level of government went to people associated with the Together We Will Make History coalition.
In this way, more than 63 per cent of the close to 89 million citizens who were registered to vote — 45 per cent of them between 18 and 35 years of age, and many of them were new voters — ended 78 years of domination by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), including 36 years of neo-liberal policies imposed on the Mexican people by the PRI and the National Action Party (PAN).
The extent to which the old parties have destroyed the social fabric, rubbing elbows with organized crime and imposing a policy of fear, permitting kidnappings and assassinations of social and community leaders, investigative journalists and local government candidates to carry on with impunity, led the Mexican people to clearly proclaim, Enough! The people’s action to realize their desire for change was such that in the aftermath of the July 1 elections the PRI, PAN and their allies — for instance, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), New Alliance (NA) and the Ecological Green Party (PVEM) — found themselves completely decimated throughout the Republic.
In rejecting these parties, the people have rejected the anti-people and anti-national policies that have been their lot for decades. Over the past 36 years, Mexican citizens have seen their natural resources handed over to and pillaged by mining companies — most of them Canadian and to whom more than 25 per cent of the national territory has been ceded as concessions made in violation of the requirement for the free, prior and informed consent, and of the ancestral rights of the Indigenous peoples who live on these lands. The country’s agriculture has been destroyed to the extent that Mexico, which created different types of corn, now has to import seeds from the United States. Energy resources have all been privatized and handed over to big foreign multinationals. The last resource to be privatized was oil, always a source of pride for Mexicans, which brought in revenues that assisted in guaranteeing a modern education and health system for the people. From being a producer country, Mexico has become an importer of refined petroleum to the extent that, of the close to 850,000 barrels a day required for domestic consumption, it must now import more than 650,000 from the United States. What is more, Mexicans have had to deal with a restructuring of state arrangements that has impacted labour legislation, health, education, pensions, security and the justice system, all in favour of the big multinationals and to the detriment of the interests of the people.
The rejection of the old system is also, and above all, the rejection of a system of utter corruption and impunity of unimaginable proportions, spread throughout all spheres of government and public institutions at the federal as well as the state and local levels. More than half the population is left in extreme poverty, where human dignity is trampled in the mud and human life is worth less than a handful of pesos.
It is therefore with eyes wide open that the Mexican people decided to show that they wanted change and opted for the national project of AMLO, who has stated that he will put an end to corruption, create jobs by developing an economy based on national production, and, as soon as he takes office in December, ensure a universal monthly pension for the elderly, and provide education and work scholarships to the youth. These are some of the measures he has announced, along with a foreign policy based on non-intervention in the affairs of sovereign countries, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and friendly relations with all peoples and governments. Without a doubt, in their efforts to bring about change, the people will most certainly follow developments with a watchful eye.
Heartfelt congratulations to the fraternal people of Mexico! They have indeed expressed their desire for change in a decisive and overwhelming way. It is their continued involvement in activating the human factor/social consciousness which will continue to bring that change about.
Mexican People’s Movement for Empowerment
While, in general, it was felt throughout the campaign that Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) was heading for a victory in the presidency of the Republic, attracting thousands of people every time he visited any of the country’s major cities, what was not expected was the depth of the people’s expressed desire for change throughout all levels of government, federal, state and municipal.
At the level of the presidency, AMLO won 31 of the 32 states of the Republic, with just over 24 million votes or 53 per cent of the votes cast. The closest contender of the other three candidates achieved just over 22 per cent. In the most conservative states, such as Baja California and the northern states such as Sinaloa, and even in the northeast with Nuevo León, Mexicans overwhelmingly rejected decades of domination by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN), with more than 60 per cent opting for the Together We Will Make History (Juntos Haremos Historia) coalition led by AMLO’s party, MORENA. Together We Will Make History is made up of MORENA, the Labour Party (PT) and the Social Encounter Party (PES). Even in the PRI strongholds, such as the States of Mexico and Coahuila, citizens rejected the old parties, casting hundreds of thousands of votes in favour of AMLO’s coalition.
The overwhelming vote in favour of Together We Will Make History completely changed the situation in the two chambers that make up the Mexican Congress. Before the July 1 election, the distribution of seats in the Senate was as follows: PRI 55, PAN 34, PT 19, PRD 7, Independents 7, PVEM 6. With the July 1 election, the new Senate will be comprised as follows: MORENA 55, PAN 24, PRI 13, PRD 8, MC 7, PES 7, PVEM 7, PT 6, PANAL 1. This gives the majority to the Together We Will Make History coalition, with 68 senators out of a total of 128. The same scenario is repeated in the House of Representatives, in which, before the election, the representation was: PRI 204, PAN 107, PRD 53, MORENA 47, PVEM 38, MC 21, NA 12, PES 12, SP 5, Independent 1. The new representation will be: MORENA 191, PAN 82, PT 61, PES 55, PRI 45, MC 27, PRD 21, PVEM 16, PANAL 2, This gives the Together We Will Make History coalition an absolute majority, with 307 deputies out of a total of 500.
The desire for change was also evident in the election of governors of the eight states and the head of government in the case of Mexico City which was recently elevated to the rank of Member State of the Republic, whose governing bodies were up for renewal in this election. Five of the nine posts were won by AMLO’s coalition — Tabasco, Mexico City, Chiapas, Morelos and Veracruz. It is probable that the state of Puebla will also tip to the side of the coalition because of the exposure of a massive fraud. It should be noted that winning Veracruz, the state considered the granary of Mexico with its extensive production of citrus, coffee and sugar cane, as well as oil, puts an end to its domination for more than 78 years by the anti-people politics of the PRI.
The determination of the people to reject decades of threats, assassinations, corruption and fear campaigns also extended to the majority of governments at the local level, both in the north and south of the country, giving control over legislative power to MORENA and its coalition in the states of Mexico, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Durango, Baja California Sur, and in more than half of the country’s municipal councils. In other words, the northern states with their high concentration of mining, industrial and beef production, as well as the southern and southeastern states with extensive oil, coffee and food production have said, No! to the continued contempt for the people of the PRI and the PAN, and expressed their desire for change. Eloquent examples testify to this determination to break with the past, such as in the Mezquital community in the extreme south of the state of Durango, where Indigenous peoples of the region walked their donkeys for kilometres through the mountains with the electoral material, not hesitating even to swim across rivers to ensure that the population could exercise their right to vote freely. Or the thousands of calls that families made from one state to another to remind everyone of the importance of voting to end 78 years of the PRI’s domination over the country.
The state capitals and large cities of the country were not spared by this wind of the will of the people for change. In fact, 11 capital cities from north to south opted for the Together We Will Make History coalition, including La Paz, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Toluca, Morelia, Cuernavaca, Oaxaca, Culiacán, Hermosillo, Villahermosa and Zacatecas, as well as the major cities of Acapulco and Ciudad Juárez, on the border with the United States, and infamous for the kidnappings, rapes and mass murder of women in the region.
This tidal wave of change also manifested itself in the capital of the Republic with the election of the MORENA-led coalition candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, as head of government, and 11 of the 16 borough councils that are part of Mexico City.
The fact that more than 63 per cent of the approximately 89 million citizens with the right to vote did vote, despite the high level of violence characterized by more than 100 assassinations of candidates and social leaders in recent months, or the hundreds of letters from large companies sent to thousands of workers to intimidate them by threatening an economic catastrophe and job losses if they did not vote the right way — to mention only a few challenges — demonstrates the daring of the Mexican people and how much they were willing to risk to declare through their vote: Enough is enough, a change is needed.
In this respect, participation was not limited to the electorate going out to vote. It was also manifested through people taking action to ensure that attempts at electoral fraud were defeated and their vote was respected. More than 3 million citizens, including hundreds of thousands of young people, responded to the call of the political parties to act as their representatives in the polling stations. Add to that the 350,000 citizens of all ages who agreed to be official clerks of the National Electoral Institute for the election. This was a real citizens’ movement from one end of the country to the other that arose in the spirit of a great sense of responsibility and concern to affect the future of the country as much as possible. It is this preoccupation, characterized by a deep love for the country, that could be felt throughout the Republic.
1. The political parties are:
MC, Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizens’ Movement)
MORENA, Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (National Regeneration Movement)
NA, Nueva Alianza (New Alliance)
PAN, Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party)
PANAL, faction of the Partido Nueva Alianza (New Alliance Party)
PES, Partido Encuentro Social (Social Encounter Party)
PRD, Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Democratic Revolution Party)
PRI, Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party)
PT, Partido del Trabajo (Labour Party)
PVEM, Partido Verde Ecologista de Mexico (Ecological Green Party of Mexico)
SP, Sin partido (no party affiliation)