Voters cast their ballots across Mexico, where thousands of posts at the local, state, and national levels are up for grabs in what is the biggest vote in the country’s history.
Sunday’s midterm elections will determine the makeup of the 500-seat Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, as well as 15 governorships and thousands of mayoral and local councilor positions.
Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) said more than 20,000 positions are being contested, while nearly 95 million people are eligible to vote.
The lead-up to Sunday’s elections was marked by widespread violence, with security consulting firm Etellekt reporting that at least 89 politicians, including 35 candidates, were killed in more than 200 days of campaigning.
“What will mark this election is the violence that arose mainly against opponents of state governments or the municipalities,” the firm’s director, Ruben Salazar, told Al Jazeera ahead of the elections.
“What we are witnessing here is political violence, where being part of the opposition implies [you will be] at greater risk in this country.”
While Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, widely known as AMLO, will not be on the ballot, his left-wing Morena party and its allies are looking to shore up support.
A good result in the Chamber of Deputies is especially important for AMLO, who was elected in 2018 to a six-year term, as he seeks to push through several major policy promises in his remaining three years in office.
Recent polls suggest Morena may lose some of its current 253 seats in the Chamber of Representatives, but is still likely to retain a majority with the help of the allied Green and Labour parties.
Al Jazeera’s John Holman, reporting from Mexico City, said the election is a chance for AMLO to cement his vision for the country. “He says that he wants to transform the country and in particular benefit the poor,” Holman said.
Meanwhile, the president’s opponents as well as onlookers have said the election needs to stand as a counterweight to AMLO. “That’s because he’s been showing some worrying signs,” Hollman added.
“AMLO wants to centralize power. He’s been looking at various points to either eliminate independent institutions or to pack them with his supporters and he’s been criticizing independent voices, including respected NGOs in the country, and the press.” Hollman concluded.
Source: Al Jazeera
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