MEXICO CITY — Voters in Mexico tapped the brakes on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s ambitious plans to overhaul the country’s economy and society by narrowing his leftist coalition’s majority in Congress in midterm elections on Sunday.
The governing Morena party was expected to hold between 190 and 203 seats in Mexico’s lower house of Congress, a decline of up to 60 lawmakers, according to preliminary results released late on Sunday night by the country’s electoral board.
Although Morena, together with allies, will still be the dominant force in the 500-seat legislature, the coalition is expected to fall well short of the two-thirds majority required to push through the most sweeping aspects of Mr. López Obrador’s agenda.
“It’s a powerful reversal,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor, a political analyst and professor at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico City.
Morena has also suffered heavy losses in Mexico’s capital, a megalopolis of nine million that had voted for leftist candidates since 1997, losing seats in the local assembly and key municipal offices. The defeats in Mexico City were an important blow to the government, symbolically as well as substantively, underlining the ebbing of support for Mr. López Obrador’s project among the country’s educated middle class, said Genaro Lozano, a political scientist at Mexico’s Iberoamerican University.
While many aspects of Mr. López Obrador’s agenda are already underway, such as the construction of major infrastructure, the election results will make other changes more difficult. In particular, the results will hinder Mr. López Obrador’s flagship plan to return Mexico’s energy sector to state control.
Despite the president’s enduring popularity, especially among the poor, the results appear to show the limits of his popular
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