Mexico president’s ruling party ousts once-dominant party in most populous state

Delfina Gomez, Mexico state gubernatorial candidate for the National Regeneration Movement, or MORENA, celebrates her electoral victory during local state elections in Toluca, Mexico state, Mexico, Sunday, June 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

(Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)

Mexico president's ruling party ousts once-dominant party in most populous state

Mexico & the Americas

June 5, 2023

The ruling party of Mexico’s President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador won the governorship of the country’s most populous state, dealing a life-threatening blow to the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI which had governed the state of Mexico without interruption for nearly a century.

With over 99% of precincts counted in a preliminary report, electoral authorities said Monday that




Delfina Gmez won 52.7% of votes in the state of Mexico which surrounds Mexico City on three sides to 44.3% for the PRI’s Alejandra del Moral. Del Moral later gave a concession speech.

The result was a new low for the PRI, which held Mexico’s presidency uninterrupted for 71 years until losing power in 2000 elections; the party had governed the State of Mexico and its 17 million inhabitants for 94 years until its loss Sunday.

The PRI managed to hold on to the governorship of the sparsely populated northern border state of Coahuila, and governs the neighboring state of Durango in coalition with other opposition parties. But the PRI is now a shadow of

itself from

the old days when it ruled Mexico with a combination of handout programs and corruption.

Propelled by Lpez Obrador’s personal popularity and more generous payments to the elderly and students Morena now governs 22 of Mexico’s 32 states. The conservative National Action party governs five states, the Morena-allied Green party governs one and the small Citizens Movement holds two states.

Lpez Obrador

said he was pleased with the results, but

struck a magnanimous tone Monday, saying his administration would deal fairly with governors from all parties.

We have to serve all citizens, whatever party they belong to, that is our responsibility, the president said.

Gmez celebrated her victory as the first woman to serve as governor in

the State of




This is a victory for working families, this is a victory for us women, who have fought for years for the recognition of our rights, Gmez said in a victory speech late Sunday. The state has been plagued by a bloody series of killings of women in recent years, and widespread poverty among female-headed households.

The State of Mexico covers everything from Mexico City suburbs, industrial sprawl and rural communities plagued by violence, and displays stunning extremes of inequality, violence and corruption.

The contest was closely watched, too, because of its potential implications for next years presidential elections. Even without having selected its nominee yet, Morena is considered the front-runner in that national election and will be even more so with control of the state of Mexico.

Political scientist Georgina de la Fuente of the Tecnologico de Monterrey university noted that Sunday’s results highlight several things: The PRI has been defeated, though perhaps not as soundly as expected; Morena is not invincible; and parties are going to have to reconfigure their agreements. She added that the smooth elections also confirmed the effectiveness of Mexico’s electoral system, whose authorities had come under heavy fire from Lpez Obrador.

The loss of the state of Mexico could spell the end of the PRI’s political relevance on a national stage.

Turnout was only about half of eligible voters

in the state of Mexico


It doesn’t seem like the elections have excited people, said Miguel Agustn Lpez Moreno, a political scientist and social worker in Ecatepec, one of the state’s largest municipalities. He was uncertain the situation for residents would change significantly, attributing the Morena party’s success in large part to the amount of resources it invested in the state.

Adair Ortiz Herrera, a 21-year-old information systems student from Coyotepec, a rural area in the northern part of the state, said before the results were known Sunday that he was sure a new direction was coming. My vote is to end the current government’s hegemony, he said.

Romero reported from Naucalpan, Mexico. Emilio Lugo in Huehuetoca, Mexico, contributed to this report.