Mexico votes on López Obrador's 'transformation' at mid-term

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Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador thumbs up after voting in congressional, state and local elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 6, 2021. Mexicans on Sunday were electing the entire lower house of Congress, almost half the country's governors and most mayors in a vote that will determine if Obrador's Morena party gets the legislative majority. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY – Mexicans cast ballots Sunday to elect the entire lower house of Congress, almost half the country’s governors and most mayors in a vote that will determine whether President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party gets the legislative majority it needs to continue his “Fourth Transformation” of Mexico.

López Obrador's critics depicted the elections as a chance to stop the still-popular president from concentrating more power and weakening checks and balances. The president said the opposition is dominated by conservatives who oppose his campaign against corruption and wasteful spending.

López Obrador has complained about courts and independent regulatory agencies that have blocked some of his tougher proposals to empower state-owned industries. Opponents feared that if he won a majority, he might try to subjugate courts and regulatory agencies created during Mexico's decades-long transition to full democracy.

After polls closed, Lorenzo Córdova, president of the National Electoral Institute, declared the election a success. He said only 30 of more than 130,000 polling places across the country were not able to open due to a variety of circumstances.

Half of those unopened polling places were in the southern state of Oaxaca where voting materials were stolen or damaged, institute Executive Secretary Edmundo Jacobo said Sunday night.

Representatives of the major parties speaking at the electoral institute's general council meeting applauded the conduct of Sunday's vote amid the pandemic, despite noting that the run-up to voting was one of the most violent in recent times.

Mexico City housewife Dolores Martinez said she was pleased with López Obrador's anti-corruption fight, after decades of corrupt administrations.

“I like it a lot,” Martinez said as she waited to vote. “There has to be transparency.”