The State of Mexico goes to the polls in gubernatorial race

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Voters in the state of Mexico will elect their governor today after a crushing blow to the ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) earlier this year. After losing seven gubernatorial races, President Enrique Peña Nieto and his ruling party will face three more local elections, including the elections in the state of Mexico, before the anticipated presidential race in 2018.

Whichever party wins the gubernatorial elections today could determine which way the 2018 general elections will swing.

This election is one of the country’s most important event in political, economic and symbolic terms as the nation has faced corruption scandals, widespread poverty and gruesome violence against women and girls. Extreme poverty rose by 80% between 2008 and 2014, affecting 20% of the population.

The governorship elections will serve as a benchmark in Mexico’s political future. The controversial NAFTA regulations will be a major factor in the elections, including the fate of the Mexican Peso which took a hit since Donald Trump took office.

The election is a popularity contest for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, popularly known as Amlo from the dominant leftist party Morena. He is not a candidate but has thrown his support behind Delfina Gómez, Morena’s candidate for governor of the state of Mexico.

His party expects his firebrand charisma and popularity to galvanise enough voters to pull off a historic victory and seal the fate of Nieto’s disastrous presidency

Seven candidates are contesting but the polls suggest a tightly contested race between Gomez, a former teacher and daughter of a builder, and the current president’s distant cousin Alfredo del Mazo Maza.

The elections are essential to the Pena’s goal to maintain the presidency in 2018. Though it is considered a PRI stronghold, the results of the gubernatorial races today will challenge this notion and give the opposition electoral hope.

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