Mexico City (CNN) – The ruling coalition in Mexico would lose its qualified majority in the Chamber of Deputies after the midterm elections this Sunday, according to initial figures published by the National Electoral Institute (INE).
This result will prevent President Andrés Manuel López Obrador from passing important legislative and constitutional reforms without the help of opposition parties. However, the ruling coalition is expected to maintain a simple majority in the lower house.
Morena, the left-wing López Obrador party, won about 35% of the vote. Morena and one of his government partners, the Green Party, are expected to win between 265 and 292 of the 500 seats in the lower house, according to preliminary figures from the INE. Morena has 256 seats, but will lose at least 50 after the midterm elections. It is expected to win between 190 and 203 seats after Sunday’s session, the INE said.
The results are preliminary and final results are expected next week.
The contest was seen as a referendum on López Obrador, who was elected in 2018 after campaigning to address the violence and corruption that has plagued Mexico for decades with his “hugs, not bullets” strategy.
López Obrador’s populist style – he sold Mexico’s presidential plane and now travels on commercial flights – and promises to address economic inequality and corruption have helped him maintain his personal popularity, especially among many lower- and middle-class Mexicans. His daily press conferences often serve as a conduit to reinforce his views and political platform, rather than answering questions from the press about his policies.
Yet critics of the president say he has failed to stop organized crime’s turf wars that have plagued Mexico for much of the past two decades. Meanwhile, several former politicians have attacked López Obrador for allegedly not respecting the checks and balances of the Mexican political system.
Sunday’s vote was marred by a wave of violence in the months leading up to Election Day, including nearly 100 murders of politicians. According to a report by risk management consultancy Etellekt, 96 politicians have been assassinated since the election campaign began in September last year. At least 35 of the victims were candidates for public office.
During the day this Sunday, human remains were found in at least two polling stations in the state of Baja California, while in the state of Sinaloa, several voting centers were forced to close early after facing threats from armed groups .
Morena’s two main rivals are expected to win more councils, according to the INE.
The conservative National Action Party (PAN) will go from having 77 seats to an estimated 106-117 seats in the lower house. While the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which held power in Mexico until 2000, would obtain between 63 and 75 seats, of the 48 it had before the elections.
Sunday’s elections are considered the largest in the history of Mexico. More than 93 million voters were called to vote for candidates for 21,000 elected positions at the three levels of government. Participation at the national level was estimated between 51.7 and 52.5%, the INE reported.
CNN’s Juan Carlos Paz contributed to this report.