From Promises to Policies: Implications of the 2023 State of Mexico Elections


On Sunday’s June 4th elections, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s ruling party, MORENA, successfully gained control of a key stronghold of the opposition: State of Mexico. They managed to win a governorship, which could potentially prove advantageous for them leading up to the 2024 presidential election.

In the context of Mexican elections, the State of Mexico, commonly referred to as Edomex, holds immense importance due to its significant population and industrialisation levels. With a population of over 17 million people, Edomex is the most populous state in Mexico and plays a crucial role in shaping the country’s political landscape. Its sizeable voting population makes it a key battleground for political parties, as winning support in Edomex can heavily influence the outcome of presidential elections, held a year after the election for the state’s governorship.

The industrialisation levels in Edomex are noteworthy, as the state is home to numerous manufacturing plants, industrial zones, and economic corridors. Its proximity to Mexico City further enhances its economic significance. The state’s industrial sector contributes significantly to the national economy, employing a large portion of the population and generating substantial tax revenue. As a result, political parties often prioritise Edomex to secure support from both industrial workers and business leaders, recognising the state’s potential to drive economic growth and development.

Given its demographic and economic importance, Edomex has emerged as a key indicator of popular sentiment and political trends in Mexico. The state’s diverse population, encompassing urban centres, suburban areas, and rural communities, reflects the socioeconomic diversity found throughout the country. Consequently, Edomex serves as a microcosm of Mexico’s political challenges and aspirations, making it a critical barometer for assessing the success or failure of political parties and their policy agendas.

The state’s demographics and economic landscape reflect the broader complexities of Mexico, making it a focal point for political parties vying for support. Understanding the dynamics within Edomex is essential for any political analysis, as its electoral outcomes often provide insights into the preferences and concerns of Mexican voters in the upcoming presidential elections of 2024. As the state continues to evolve and influence the national political arena, its importance in shaping Mexico’s future cannot be overstated.

The significance of losing the State of Mexico (Edomex) to the political party MORENA will have profound implications for the Mexican political landscape. Edomex has historically been a stronghold for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and losing this state  signals a significant shift in the balance of power and political allegiances.

MORENA’s victory in Edomex will not only demonstrate its growing popularity and ability to appeal to a diverse electorate but also solidify its position as a dominant force in Mexican politics, it also signifies a step closer to the party becoming the new hegemonic power, resembling in much what the PRI was during its golden years. As the most populous state, Edomex holds considerable weight in national elections, and a win for MORENA will grant them access to a substantial number of votes and financial resources. This, in turn, will strengthen their mandate and give them greater leverage in implementing their policy agenda at the federal level.

The loss of Edomex by  the PRI, is  a severe blow to their credibility and influence. The PRI has a long-standing history of governance in Mexico and has traditionally relied on its stronghold in Edomex to maintain its national relevance. Losing this state will undoubtedly signify a decline in support for the PRI and a potential erosion of its traditional voter base.

The implications of a MORENA victory in Edomex extend beyond the political realm. It could have economic consequences as well, as the state’s industrial and commercial sectors will be subject to the policies and priorities set by the ruling party. MORENA’s approach to economic development, taxation, and investment could impact businesses and investors operating in Edomex, potentially altering the economic landscape of the state and its contribution to the national economy.

Despite his promises of economic prosperity, AMLO’s policies have led to uncertainty and hindered investment in Mexico. The cancellation of major infrastructure projects, such as the New Mexico City International Airport, has raised concerns among investors and sent negative signals to the business community. Moreover, the government’s interventionist approach in the energy sector, favouring state-owned companies over private investment, has further damaged Mexico’s economic prospects. This coupled with a policy of stringent austerity could gravely damage Edomex’s industrial and economic power.

The winner of the Edomex’s elections, has also a worryingly long record of mismanagement and embezzlement that could drain the finances of Edomex. Delfina Gomez Alvarez has been embroiled in several scandals that have raised concerns about her integrity and suitability for public office. These scandals have cast a shadow over her political career and have called into question her ability to effectively represent the interests of the people.

One of the most notable scandals involving Gomez Alvarez was the misuse of public funds during her tenure as mayor of Texcoco. Significant amounts of money were mismanaged and improperly allocated, leading to a lack of transparency and accountability in the local government. Delfina was accused of deducting a salary percentage from workers of the Texcoco City Council between 2013 and 2015. The resources would be used for the constitution of Morena as a national political party. This has raised serious doubts about Gomez Alvarez’s ability to handle public finances responsibly.

Additionally, Gomez Alvarez faced accusations of nepotism during her time as mayor. She appointed close relatives and political allies to key positions within the municipal government, disregarding merit-based criteria and undermining the principles of fair governance. This nepotistic behaviour eroded public trust and created perceptions of favouritism and cronyism within her administration.

Furthermore, Gomez Alvarez’s involvement in a controversial land deal also attracted significant criticism. She and her family acquired land in a questionable manner, potentially benefiting from insider information and using their political influence to secure favourable terms. This raised concerns about conflicts of interest and ethical misconduct, tarnishing Gomez Alvarez’s reputation and credibility. Despite this, she will become the new governor of one of the richest states of Mexico next October.

Delfina is expected to rule following the same policies as AMLO af a federal level. Since assuming office in December 2018, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly known as AMLO, and his political party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), have been at the helm of Mexico’s political landscape. Promising a radical transformation of the country, AMLO’s tenure has been marked by controversial policies, questionable decision-making, and a concerning disregard for democratic institutions.

1. Populist Rhetoric and Polarising Politics

AMLO’s leadership style has been defined by populist rhetoric and a polarising approach to governance. While his promises of tackling corruption and reducing socioeconomic inequalities resonated with many Mexicans, his divisive language and demonisation of political opponents have fuelled polarisation in the country. Rather than promoting dialogue and inclusive politics, AMLO has often resorted to name-calling and dismissing critics, undermining the principles of a healthy democracy.

2. Erosion of Democratic Institutions:

One of the most concerning aspects of AMLO’s politics has been the erosion of democratic institutions. From the dismantling of autonomous regulatory bodies to the consolidation of power within the presidency, AMLO has concentrated authority in his own hands, undermining checks and balances. This concentration of power poses a threat to Mexico’s democracy, as it weakens institutional mechanisms that ensure accountability and protect against abuses of power.

3. Inadequate Response to Security Challenges:

Mexico has long struggled with high levels of violence and organised crime, and AMLO’s approach to addressing these challenges has been met with criticism. Rather than implementing a comprehensive security strategy, AMLO has relied heavily on the deployment of the National Guard, which has not proven effective in curbing violence. Furthermore, his emphasis on amnesty and social programs as a solution to crime fails to address the root causes and fails to provide justice for victims.

4. Lack of Transparency and Accountability:

Transparency and accountability are essential pillars of good governance, yet they have been undermined under AMLO’s administration. The president has shown a dismissive attitude towards investigative journalism, often labelling critical media outlets as “fifi” or “conservative.” Moreover, his reluctance to disclose information and his refusal to engage in open dialogue with civil society organizations raise concerns about his commitment to transparency and the public’s right to know.

While AMLO’s politics and the rise of MORENA initially offered hope for change in Mexico, the reality has been far from transformative. Instead, there has been a  concentration of power, erosion of democratic institutions, economic uncertainty, inadequate security strategies, and a lack of transparency. It is crucial for Mexican citizens to critically assess the policies and actions of their government, ensuring that democratic principles and the well-being of the country are protected. Only through robust public scrutiny and accountability can Mexico move towards a more inclusive, prosperous, and democratic future.

This victory also paves the way for MORENA’s hegemonic power: The party’s focus on social justice and its commitment to improving the lives of marginalized communities have resonated with a large portion of the population. This strong support provides a solid foundation for MORENA to consolidate its power and potentially become a dominant political force. The party has also gained control of key governorships and local governments, expanding its influence at the regional level.

These consistent electoral wins demonstrate the party’s ability to mobilize voters and build a broad-based coalition. The traditional political parties in Mexico have faced declining popularity and trust in recent years. Scandals, corruption allegations, and perceived inefficiency have eroded public confidence in these parties. As a result, the opposition is fragmented and lacks a strong cohesive force to effectively challenge MORENA’s dominance. This weak opposition provides an opportunity for MORENA to further consolidate its power and potentially become a hegemonic political party. Edomex victory to MORENA strengthens the force with which MORENA would arrive in 2024 would be forceful. MORENA will govern a total of 22 governorships, which would have been won since 2018, which constitutes indisputable territorial control.

Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza
Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza
Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza is a politics and international relations tutor at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She gained her Bachelor's in International Relations at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City and her MA in International Relations and World Order at the University of Leicester, England. She holds a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She has spoken at numerous international conferences and has written on topics such as democracy, migration, European politics, Contemporary Mexican Politics and the Middle East. Her research interests include: Democratisation processes, governance and theories of the state, contemporary Mexican politics, Latin American politics, political parties, international relations theories, contemporary USA-Latin America foreign policy.


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