6/6/16 Wall Street Journal
MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s ruling party lost several key states, including oil-rich Veracruz,
to the opposition in Sunday’s gubernatorial elections, a blow to the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto and an indication voters are growing weary of scandals.
Mr. Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, also was ousted from power in stronghold Tamaulipas, a large agricultural and industrial state bordering Texas that accounts for about 3% of the Mexican economy and has been hurt by a rise in violent crime. In all, preliminary results Monday indicate, the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, was ahead in seven of the 12 states that held gubernatorial elections.
In Veracruz, Mexico’s third-most-populous state, the PRI came in third, losing there for the first time in 87 years. Departing Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte’s administration has been plagued by accusations of diversion of federal funds and corruption by the state police, as well as ballooning state debt. The state government has denied accusations of diverting funds and said all the debt has been taken on legally.
With 55% of polling stations reporting in Veracruz, Miguel Angel Yunes, the candidate from the coalition led by the PAN and the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, won 32.8% of the vote, defeating the PRI’s Hector Yunes, who had 28.7%. In second place, with 29.3% of the vote, was Cuitláhuac García of the leftist Morena party.
The electoral defeats are a blow to the PRI, which returned to power in 2012 after 12 years in opposition. The results also could mark a comeback for the PAN two years ahead of the presidential election in 2018. The PAN removed the PRI from Mexico’s presidency in 2000 for the first time in seven decades but came in third in the 2012 presidential elections won by Mr. Peña Nieto.