Morena consolidates its territorial expansion and deals a new blow to the opposition ahead of next year’s presidential elections. The party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador conquered the State of Mexico on Sunday, the largest electoral granary in the country and the PRI’s impregnable stronghold for almost 100 years. Delfina Gómez, a teacher from humble origins, will become the first woman in history to govern the symbolic Mexican state that surrounds the capital. It has been a clear victory, by more than eight points, over the PRI candidate, Alejandra del Moral. It has been useless for the opposition to join forces, along with the PAN, right, and PRD, the remnants of the traditional left. Morena, born just over a decade ago in the image and likeness of López Obrador, already controls 23 state governments, two-thirds of the total and more than double that of the entire opposition as a whole. He also has a majority in parliament. Never has a political force in Mexico grown so fast in such a short time.
The opposition bloc’s consolation came in Coahuila, the northern state also called to the polls on Sunday. The PRI member Manolo Jiménez will be the next governor. Morena’s division cleared the way for Jiménez, who swept more than twice as many votes as the ruling party candidate. The opposition strategy, the front of all against Morena, enters in any case into a new phase of doubts after the heavy defeat in the State of Mexico. With the presidential elections already on the horizon, they still do not have a clear candidate or strong leadership and it is not even clear that they will remain united.
“The master battle has been won. In a battle that lasted almost a century, the people of Edomex have decided to put an end to the Atlacomulco Group and its corruption,” Mario Delgado, the president of Morena, said before the results were officially known, in relation to the powerful PRI faction. which controlled the State for decades and from which, for example, the last tricolor president, Enrique Peña Nieto (2013-2018), emerged. “It is a victory for working families and women who have fought for our rights to be recognized,” Gómez said in his acceptance speech, in which he called his victory “a historic moment.” Del Moral acknowledged his defeat: “I greet the teacher Delfina Gómez Álvarez, next governor.” Participation was around 50%, slightly lower than the elections six years ago.
The victory in Coahuila is the lifeline that the opposition clings to, which strove in its speeches to present the result of the day as a tie at one. But there are several alarm signals behind the triumphalist speeches. The PRI and the PAN fell back compared to the 2017 elections, when they did not run together. So they got more than 70% of the votes by competing against each other. Both parties are the two historical antagonists of Mexican politics until Hurricane Morena arrived, forcing them to rethink their strategy. The PRI, the party that ruled Mexico for more than 70 years with an iron fist, now only controls Durango and Coahuila, the only state in the country where there has been no political alternation.
“Morena is the big winner of the night, due to the visibility and electoral weight of the State of Mexico,” says Alejandro Díaz Domínguez, a professor at the Tec de Monterrey School of Government. There are several specialists who question the notion that this year’s voting ended in a “tie.” Because the State of Mexico has a register of more than 12.5 million voters and Coahuila barely exceeds 2.5 million voters. Because it is the second economic engine of the country, because Morena has established itself as the main force in urban centers —with the exception of Monterrey and Guadalajara—, because of its budget weight, because of the centralism that still prevails in the country and because the victory of the president’s party was made at the expense of the PRI machine, which once seemed impregnable and unbeatable. Also due to the political moment in which the disaster for the opposition occurred, practically a year after the 2024 elections.
“Morena has cannibalized a PRI on its knees and which has very little left to defend,” says analyst Carlos Bravo Regidor. For the president’s party, the election in the State of Mexico was key in its electoral expansion process, but also because of the correlation of forces that remains from tonight’s results, says Bravo Regidor. The entire opposition has been reduced to nine governorships, while Morena already governs around 7 out of 10 Mexicans in the state order. Before the arrival of the cherry wave, the president’s party started this six-year term with only seven governors. “The notice was on the door,” adds the specialist, “Delfina Gómez had already been very close six years ago and it gives the impression that the PRI did not heed those notices to avoid the debacle or reverse the reputational burden in which it has become converted”. In 2017, before the victory in the presidential elections the following year, the Morena candidate was already a span from winning. This time she did succeed and López Obrador’s party advances with fewer and fewer obstacles in the way.
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