Millions of Mexicans voted on Sunday (June 4th) in the country's most populous state, where the left-wing Morena movement is poised to consolidate its influence by seizing the last major stronghold of the PRI, the former dominant party, a year before the presidential election.

In total, 12.6 million voters had to choose the governor of the state of Mexico, the region on the outskirts of the capital that sums up all the contrasts of Mexico, between violence and economic dynamism.

In this last major test before the presidential election in mid-2024, Morena's candidate, Delfina Gómez, is well ahead in the polls against PRI candidate Alejandra del Moral, who has also conceded defeat.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's candidate was nine points ahead, according to an estimate of the first results of the National Electoral Institute (INE) after the polls closed. The candidate and her team were already celebrating the victory before the announcement of the official results, said an AFP photographer.

Turnout "is quite high," INE said during the day, also mentioning Sunday's other election in the northern state of Coahuila.

The victory of Delfina Gómez one year before the presidential election would confirm the new hegemony of the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena), which already governs 22 of the 32 states of the federation, alone or with its allies.

Delfina Gómez is buoyed by the popularity of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has been in office since December 2018.

In power from 1930 to 2000, and back between 2012 and 2018, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), described in its time as a "perfect dictatorship" by Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, would thus lose its last great historical bastion.

"I hope it will be a beautiful day for Mexican women, full of tranquility," said Delfina Gómez as she went to vote.

With 17 million inhabitants – as many as the Netherlands, more than Quebec or Belgium – the state of Mexico is a "mini-republic", according to political scientist Miguel Tovar of the firm Alterpraxis.

The state is one of the most violent in the country, especially in the cities of the agglomeration of the capital, while having an important industrial fabric (Ford, Nestlé). Its economy accounts for 9.1% of the national GDP.

Elections are also being held on Sunday in the northern mining state of Coahuila. In this state bordering the United States, Morena presented himself in dispersed order with the dissident candidacy of a former secretary of state in the government of López Obrador.

The division of the ruling party was expected to allow the PRI to retain the favour of a majority of the 2.3 million registered voters.

(with AFP)

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