Mexico, 2018

Mexico has its elections for President, Chamber of Deputies, and Senate on 1 July. It has been clear for a while that, barring a big surprise, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (popularly known as AMLO) will win.

AMLO’s support has risen steadily out of what looked like a tight three-way contest some months ago into a strong lead. When voters responding “no preference” are removed, it even looks likely that AMLO could win a clear majority of votes. Mexico elects its presidency via nationwide plurality, and no Mexican president has earned half the votes since 1994 (at a time when most experts still considered the regime authoritarian, albeit increasingly competitive).

Assuming AMLO wins, it will highlight the competitive three-party nature of the system. When the center-right National Action Party (PAN) won the presidency in 2000, it broke decades of continuous control by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PAN won again in 2006, on less than 37% of the votes in a very tight race, with AMLO close behind (and refusing to acknowledge defeat). The PRI returned to the presidency in 2012, and now AMLO will give the left its chance. (AMLO was with the Party of the Democratic Revolution, PRD, but in recent years has set up a new party, MORENA, while the remnant PRD is backing the PAN candidate this time.)

I would be very interested in seeing an analysis of AMLO’s own manifesto (and his party’s, if separate). There is much hand-wringing over his leftist “populism”. However, when he ran in 2006, he staked out a centrist economic platform well to the right of his own party–a clear case of what “presidentialization” does to parties. (See the discussion of the general point, and also the 2006 Mexican campaign, in my book with David Samuels, Presidents, Parties, and Prime Ministers). Is he doing so this time? I can’t claim to have followed closely enough to know.

As for the Chamber of Deputies, if the pattern of recent Mexican elections holds, the party winning the presidency will win fewer votes for its congressional candidates. That could mean MORENA (and pre-election allies) will not have a majority of seats. On the other hand, as noted above, these previous presidents have not themselves won majorities. Moreover, the electoral system is mixed-member (with the voter having a single vote). It is sometimes erroneously categorized as mixed-member proportional (MMP), but it is actually leans much more to the majoritarian category (MMM). Seats won based on nationwide votes for party are added to single-seat districts won (by plurality).

The allocation is not compensatory, but it is also not strictly parallel. There are caps on allowable over-representation (unlike in a “pure” MMM system). The most important cap is that no party can have a final seat percentage that is more than eight percentage points above its vote percentage. Thus if a party wins under 42% of the votes, it is unable to have a majority of seats. If it gets over 42% it is not guaranteed a majority, but a majority becomes likely, due to the non-compensatory nature of the allocation. This cap kept the PRI from retaining its majority in the midterm election of 1997, and I believe it has been hit in several subsequent elections, as well. This is what I will be watching most closely: Will MORENA (and allies) get a Deputies majority?

The Senate is also elected in a mix of regional and nationwide seats. Each state has three senators, elected by closed list, limited-nominations plurality. The largest list gets two seats and the runner up gets one. Then there are 32 seats elected by nationwide proportional representation (allocated in parallel, not compensatory manner).

These provisions, combined with the regionalization of party support in Mexico, make it difficult for a party (or alliance) to win a majority of the Senate’s 128 seats. AMLO is unlikely to have majorities in both houses, but it is worth noting that the federal budget must clear only the Chamber. There is no Senate veto on the spending side of the budget, although both houses must pass all other types of bills. Thus the left will be in a strong, but not unchecked, position to implement its program for the first time in Mexican democratic history.

33 thoughts on “Mexico, 2018

  1. “This cap kept the PRI from retaining its majority in the midterm election of 1997, and I believe it has been hit in several subsequent elections, as well.”

    I discussed PRI’s case in 2003 here six years ago, and after having gone over the archive of IFE/INE’s General Council agreements once more, I can confirm that PRI’s lower house seat totals were also capped in 2009, 2012 and 2015, under the terms of the eight percent maximum disparity clause.

    • Thank you. That was what I remembered, but I did not have a chance to look it up.

      So the cap was not hit in either 2000 or 2006, if I understand correctly. Interesting that the two times that PAN won the presidency, the provision was not invoked. Perhaps not surprising. It is the PRI that has the greatest regional spread, so when it is the plurality party, it is more likely to win a lot of single-seat districts (hence tending to hit the cap).

      • You’re welcome, and you understood correctly: PRI in 2000 and the PRI-PVEM Alliance for Mexico in 2006 came up well below the cap (PAN won a plurality of single-member seats in both instances). Also, in 2006, the cap was calculated for the PRI-PVEM coalition: at the time, voters could not yet choose constituent parties within a coalition, and the Alliance for Mexico coalition agreement indicated which positions on the (closed) lists belonged to PRI and PVEM in each of the five multi-member constituencies.

      • As I’m sure you are aware by now, AMLO won a sweeping victory in Sunday’s election in Mexico, with an absolute majority of 53% of the vote, (with about three-quarters of the vote reported at the time of writing). Now, like MSS I’ve been far more interested in the congressional races, where as he correctly assumed, the MORENA-PES-PT Juntos Haremos Historia coalition backing AMLO did not win as many votes as in the presidential election, having received just over 43% of the vote, to 28% for the PAN-PRD-MC Por México al Frente coalition and slightly over 23% for the PRI-PVEM-PANAL Todos por México coalition (for the sake of simplicity, I’m adding up the individual party percentages, even though the left- and right-wing parties ran separately in a few single-member districts, while PRI and its allies ran on their own in over half the Chamber districts).

        Nevertheless, the large popular vote lead of AMLO’s coalition has translated so far into a landslide victory in the Chamber of Deputies single-member races, with MORENA-PES-PT ahead in 218 seats to just 67 for PAN-PRD-MC and 15 for PRI-PVEM-PANAL, including in all cases seats won by the coalitions’ constituent parties in their own right. Now, while going over the coalition agreements in order to determine the number of seats won by each party, I’ve come across a very interesting and rather unexpected finding, namely that a disproportionately large number of Juntos Haremos Historia’s joint single-member nominations went to the two smaller parties within the left-wing coalition: specifically, of the 292 districts where the left-wing parties fielded a common candidate, 150 had PES or PT candidates (equally split between the two parties), while the remaining 142 went to MORENA. As a result, of the 210 seats where Juntos Haremos Historia is currently leading, MORENA would have 90 mandates to 55 for PES and 57 for PT, even though MORENA is currently polling 37% of the vote, while PT has less than four percent and PES just over two percent.

        At any rate, if the results hold MORENA will end up with less than one-third of the single-member seats (currently 98 of 300), and as a result the party is unlikely to be affected by the eight percent cap in the allocation of PR list seats. On the other hand, PT could exceed the cap by a percentage point or two, but the seat impact would be very modest. Not surprisingly, Juntos Haremos Historia is expected to have a comfortable majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

        Finally, PRI currently has just seven of the fourteen seats won by Todos por México in 133 constituencies contested by the coalition, and one – yes, just one – seat in the remaining 167 constituencies where the party ran on its own. To be certain, PRI will greatly benefit from the subsequent allocation of list seats, but the fact that after having ruled Mexico for seventy-one consecutive years the last century, and having held power for the last six years, PRI has been reduced from 155 SMCs three years ago to a mere eight this time around should give all of you an idea of how utterly catastrophic this election has been for the party.

      • Minor correction: MORENA is currently leading in 106 seats – 98 in coalition in PES and PT, and eight on its own right. (I accidentally subtracted the latter from the former instead of the party’s overall seat total).

      • Having looked at many of the candidates’ backgrounds, my impression is that many of the PT and PES candidates are actually Morena candidates and this is a deliberate strategy to avoid the cap (sort of like running a dummy list in MMP). There would be no other reason to give these parties so many candidate slots.

      • “namely that a disproportionately large number of Juntos Haremos Historia’s joint single-member nominations went to the two smaller parties within the left-wing coalition”

        I think this was the case in Italy under the scorporo system too, because small parties had ‘blackmail power’ over the major coalitions, given that independent candidacies from those parties would cost the coalition seats.

      • @hschlechta To be certain, both in Italy and Mexico smaller parties have more often than not received a disproportionate share of single-member district nominations, but I don’t recall having seen something as extreme in either country, at least as far as national elections are concerned. As I’ve commented here before, the late Marco Pannella tried to pull a stunt like that in Italy’s 1996 general election, demanding a hundred or so single-member college nominations for his eponymous list in order to join Berlusconi’s center-right cartel. However, Il Cavaliere would have none of it, not least because that would have been handing out almost one out of six seats in the Chamber of Deputies to a group which had polled less than four percent of the list vote two years earlier (and would go on to poll less than two percent in 1996).

        @Alex I was thinking along those lines too, but I didn’t want to engage in speculation since I didn’t know that for a fact; all the same, it wouldn’t be unprecedented. Moreover, I can confirm now that the arrangement clearly allowed the PT-MORENA-PES coalition to minimize the impact of the eight percent cap. Details at five.

      • @Manuel If I’m doing this right, it seems to me that the Morena coalition gained in the neighborhood of 30-40 seats (depending on how many actual PT/PES deputies there are; by my notes maybe 10-15 of each), since Morena is capped at roughly 228 deputies.

        What I’m not sure about is whether or not there are any restrictions on parliamentary group switching once Congress convenes.

      • I did miscalculate–the cap for Morena is around 246 (on ~41.3% of the vote) and so the saving is more like 20-25 seats. Still significant!

      • It seems an obvious flaw in the design of the system that parties can run in alliances, but the caps on over-representation are calculated at the individual party level.

      • With 92.1% of the tally sheets processed, Mexico’s Preliminary Election Results Program reports the distribution of Chamber of Deputies single-member seats stands as follows:

        PAN – 5
        PRI – 1
        PRD – 0
        PVEM – 0
        PT – 0
        MC – 0
        PANAL – 0
        MORENA – 8
        PES – 0
        PAN-PRD-MC – 62
        PRI-PVEM-PANAL – 14
        PT-MORENA-PES – 210
        Independents – 0

        On the basis of the coalition agreements published on the National Electoral Institute website, the party distribution of single-member seats would be as follows, with party single-member seat and vote shares in parentheses:

        PAN – 41 (13.7%; 18.1%)
        PRI – 8 (2.7%; 16.4%)
        PRD – 9 (3.0%; 5.4%)
        PVEM – 5 (1.7%; 4.7%)
        PT – 57 (19.0%; 3.9%)
        MC – 17 (5.7%; 4.4%)
        PANAL – 2 (0.7%; 2.5%)
        MORENA – 106 (35.3%; 37.2%)
        PES – 55 (18.3%; 2.4%)
        Independents – 0 (0.0%; 0.9%)

        As such, the coalition seat and percentage totals, including votes and mandates won by their respective constituent parties running alone, are as follows:

        PAN-PRD-MC – 67 (22.3%; 27.8%)
        PRI-PVEM-PANAL – 15 (5.0%; 23.7%)
        PT-MORENA-PES – 218 (72.7%; 43.6%)

        Note the severe under-representation of the PRI-led coalition, which won far fewer seats than the PAN-led coalition despite having a slightly lower share of the vote. The reason for this is that the latter’s vote was much more concentrated, with a majorities in eight of Mexico’s thirty-two federal entities, whereas the PRI-PVEM-PANAL coalition didn’t win a single state (although it came within 0.2% of the PAN-PRD-MC coalition in Yucatán, where it is leading in three of the state’s five districts on a majority reversal). In fact, nearly half of the PAN-led coalition’s seats came on account of landslide victories in Guanajuato and Jalisco; incidentally, Jalisco remains a stronghold of MC, and all but four of its single-member deputies come from that state, where the party finished second, narrowly behind MORENA. At any rate, the votes-to-seats disparity between the PAN- and PRI-led coalitions is fairly similar to that of Labour and the SDP/Liberal Alliance in the 1983 and 1987 U.K. general elections, although the MORENA-led coalition is even more over-represented than the Conservatives in the aforementioned British general elections.

        At this point it should be underscored that while PRI and its allies ran alone in most of Mexico, the absence of a centrist coalition in 167 districts (out of 300) made little difference in the election outcome. Had the three coalitions fielded common candidates in every district, the notional distribution of single-member mandates would have been as follows:

        PAN-PRD-MC – 69 (23.0%)
        PRI-PVEM-PANAL – 19 (6.3%)
        PT-MORENA-PES – 212 (70.7%)

        In all, the MORENA-led coalition would have had a net loss of just six seats, to the benefit of the PAN-led coalition (+2) and the PRI-led coalition (+4).

        However, the same cannot be said about the distribution of PR list seats. The official allocation won’t be known until as late as the third week of August, but on the basis of preliminary results it would be as follows:

        PAN – 41
        PRI – 37
        PRD – 12
        PVEM – 11
        PT – 4
        MC – 10
        PANAL – 0
        MORENA – 85
        PES – 0

        Note that PANAL and PES receive no PR seats because neither reached the three percent threshold. Meanwhile, PT would have been initially entitled to nine list seats, but because it won 57 SMD seats with 4.3% of the votes cast for qualifying parties, its representation would be capped at a maximum of 12.3% by the eight percent limit. As such, PT would be entitled to 61 seats out of 500, its PR list seat total would be reduced to four, and the remaining 196 list mandates would then be distributed among the other qualifying parties.

        Consequently, the overall composition of the Chamber of Deputies would be as follows (seat shares in parentheses):

        PAN: 41 + 41 = 82 (16.4%)
        PRI: 8 + 37 = 45 (9.0%)
        PRD: 9 + 12 = 21 (4.2%)
        PVEM: 5 + 11 = 16 (3.2%)
        PT: 57 + 4 = 61 (12.2%)
        MC: 17 + 10 = 27 (5.4%)
        PANAL: 2 + 0 = 2 (0.4%)
        MORENA: 106 + 85 = 191 (38.2%)
        PES: 55 + 0 = 55 (11.0%)

        Therefore, the coalitions would have the following totals:

        PAN-PRD-MC: 67 + 63 = 130 (26.0%)
        PRI-PVEM-PANAL: 15 + 48 = 63 (12.6%)
        PT-MORENA-PES: 218 + 89 = 307 (61.4%)

        The MORENA-led coalition remains over-represented, largely at the expense of the PRI-led coalition; however, the latter, while still significantly under-represented more than doubles its SMD share of seats. Meanwhile, the PAN-led coalition ends up just slightly under-represented. However, the over-representation of the PT-MORENA-PES stems almost completely from the still-disproportionate PT and PES seat shares, securing 23.2% of the seats with just 6.3% of the vote; MORENA would have a near-perfect proportional outcome, with 38.2% of the seats on 37.2% of the votes.

        By the way, the outcome for the PRI-PVEM-PANAL coalition is very similar to that of the Pact for Italy in that country’s 1994 general election. That coalition – essentially the remains of the once-mighty Christian Democratic Party – was practically wiped out in the single-member colleges, finishing a distant third and winning only four mandates of 475, but the 15.8% of the vote won by its constituent parties in the proportional ballot (a figure almost identical to that of PRI in Sunday’s election) increased its representation to 46 seats out of 630 – to be certain, still under-represented at 7.3%, but not as severely so as under a pure FPTP system.

        But back to the allocation of list seats, had all the parties ran as single-ticket coalitions (as they did back in 2006, before the electoral system was reformed to allow voters to choose specific parties within a coalition), and had PR list seats had been distributed among coalitions (as was also the case in 2006), the MORENA-led coalition, with 45.8% of the votes cast for the three coalitions only – the sole qualifying tickets – would have been initially entitled to 92 seats, which added to the notional 212 seats it would have won in the single-member districts, would have resulted in a total of 304 mandates. However, this figure would have exceeded the 53.8% limit imposed by the eight percent cap, and the coalition’s seat total would have been reduced to 269 seats, or thirty-eight fewer that the number its constituent parties have otherwise won. After subtracting the notional SMD seat total, the MORENA-led coalition would have had 57 list seats, and the remaining 143 seats would have been distributed among the PAN- and PRI-led coalitions. In all, the notional composition of the Chamber of Deputies would have been as follows:

        PAN-PRD-MC: 69 + 77 = 146 (29.2%)
        PRI-PVEM-PANAL: 19 + 66 = 85 (17.0%)
        PT-MORENA-PES: 212 + 57 = 269 (53.8%)

        Although the MORENA-led coalition would have retained a comfortable majority of 38 seats, it would have been far smaller than the massive 114-seat majority it appears set to secure, the latter being three times as large as the former. From that perspective, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that PT and PES were given away single-member seat nominations in order to circumvent or at the very least limit the impact of the eight percent cap. Moreover, there is nothing new about this: in 2015, some of PVEM’s SMD nominees were actually members of PRI, but the scale of that scheme was much smaller; at the time both the Electoral Tribunal and INE sided with PRI on that controversy, so there is a standing legal precedent, at least for the time being. All the same, this finding says a lot about a coalition which has won a decisive mandate on a platform which advocates fair and transparent governance for Mexico.

      • Mexico’s district tallies of last Sunday’s general election are now 100% complete for both the presidency and the Chamber of Deputies, and not surprisingly very little changed percentage- or seat-wise with respect to the preliminary outcome. I’ll have more to say about AMLO’s remarkable victory in the presidential race later on, but first I wanted to update the seat distributions under the actual outcome and notional coalitions-only scenario, and also consider a new notional, no-coalitions scenario.

        In the single-member district races, the PAN-led coalition captured an additional two seats, one each from the PRI-led and MORENA-led coalitions, but in turn lost a seat to the latter. In all, PAN won a seat from PRI, while MORENA lost a seat and PES gained one. The distribution of PR list seats remains unchanged, and the PT-MORENA-PES coalition will still have a Chamber of Deputies majority of 307-193 over the combined opposition parties.

        Meanwhile, in the notional coalitions-only scenario, the PAN-led coalition would have also captured an extra SMD initially won by the PRI-led coalition, but the MORENA-led coalition’s seat total would have remained unchanged, securing an overall 269-231 majority in the Chamber of Deputies, exactly one-third smaller than under the actual outcome.

        I was also able to work a notional no-coalitions scenario, which as far as the single-member districts were concerned surprisingly differed very little from the actual coalition-level outcome: as it turned out, for the most part the competing coalition agreements cancelled each other out. At any rate, had single-member seats been assigned to the party with the largest number of votes in each district, disregarding coalitions, and had voters cast their ballots the same way,the 300 Chamber SMD seats would have been distributed as follows:

        PAN – 46
        PRI – 15
        PRD – 3
        PVEM – 1
        PT – 0
        MC – 8
        PANAL – 0
        MORENA – 224
        PES – 0
        Independents – 3

        However, while MORENA would have been initially entitled to 82 list seats, for a total of 306 Chamber mandates, the eight percent cap would have restricted the party to 246 seats of 500 (because it received 41.33% of the votes cast for qualifying parties), therefore reducing its list seat total to 22; the remaining 178 PR seats would have been allocated among the other qualifying parties, and the overall composition of the Chamber of Deputies would have been as follows:

        PAN – 106 (46 + 60)
        PRI – 71 (15 + 56)
        PRD – 21 (3 + 18)
        PVEM – 17 (1 + 16)
        PT – 13 (0 + 13)
        MC – 23 (8 + 15)
        PANAL – 0
        MORENA – 246 (224 + 22)
        PES – 0
        Independents – 3 (3 + 0)

        In this scenario, MORENA and PT would still have a joint majority of eighteen seats (259 to 241), but that figure would be less than half the majority the MORENA-led coalition would have secured in the coalitions-only scenario, and a far cry from the massive 114-seat majority won on the basis of the actual election outcome. The MORENA-led coalition would obtain fewer seats in this case due to the complete exclusion of PES, which would neither have won any SMD seats on its own nor qualified for the allocation of list seats. Meanwhile, PRI and PVEM would have won four more seats than the PRI-PVEM-PANAL alliance under the coalitions-only scenario, due to the fact that the exclusion of PANAL would have been more than offset by the larger number of PR seats available for allocation, after applying the eight percent cap to MORENA. Coincidentally, in this notional scenario, MORENA’s seat total (246) would be identical to the combined total actually won by MORENA and PES after the district tallies (190 + 56).

  2. Is Mexico the only Federation in the world where there are seats that cross state boundaries; the five multi-member constituencies? The German MMP system List Component doesn’t do that, or does it with the overhangs? Do each of the 5 multi-member districts elect a uniform number or what groups of states or regions form which one? Are they ever redrawn or is the district magnitude adjusted? Would it had been better if Mexico had used 1 multi-member district to cover the whole country? What would happen if Mexico had instead of using a somewhat proportional system of MMM switched to MMP? Should it change to a 2 vote system?

    The Wikipedia article above curiously mentions that “Substitutes are elected at the same time as each deputy, so special elections are rare.”
    So Mexico has no by-elections? Are English speaking countries the only Western Democracies that have no such things as substitutes, sounds like a great idea to save on the cost of special elections?

    Each Mexican State gets a minimum of 2 seats. Are rural states over represented (malapportionment) in the Chamber like the US house over-represents rural areas slightly, but then Mexico has the 5 overlapping multi-member districts, perhaps that equals itself out?

    • Is Mexico the only Federation in the world where there are seats that cross state boundaries; the five multi-member constituencies

      Not a federation, but NZ local government Regions do not always align with the lower level Districts/Cities – the former are more resource focused, and sometimes watersheds to not correspond with communities of interest.

      • So how is Mexico not a Federation? I would consider it to be one albeit more centralized than the U.S because the amending formula of it’s constitution requires ratification of a majority of the states of Mexico.

    • In Weimar Germany some multi-member constituencies crossed Land boundaries: for example, Mecklenburg spanned Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Lübeck. And then you had the upper-tier Wahlkreisverbände (multiple constituencies, literally union of electoral constituencies). However, the Federal Republic of Germany has never had multi-state constituencies, other than the 1990-only electoral zones comprising pre-reunification West Germany and East Germany, and solely for the calculation of separate five-percent thresholds in each of them.

      Redistricting in Mexico is carried out by the country’s National Electoral Institute (INE). The five multi-member constituencies currently used for Chamber of Deputies elections have been in place since 2005. As part of the redistricting process concluded last year, INE decided to retain
      their existing boundaries, as detailed in Agreement CG329 of 2017:

      The furnished link also includes a map of the current multi-member constituencies with population figures (scroll down to View/Open for the PDF document links).

      Since 1997, each multi-member constituency has elected exactly forty deputies, for a total of 200, even though the number of single-member constituencies in each multi-member constituency currently varies from 56 to 62 seats. However, list seats are first distributed among qualifying parties on a nationwide basis, and then allocated among the multi-member constituencies.

      A switch to MMP would result in a more proportionate distribution of Chamber seats. For example , had MMP been in place in 2015, and had voters cast their ballots as they actually did, the PRI-PVEM coalition would have won just 199 of 500 seats, instead of 250. However, on a purely FPTP system, the PRI-PVEM coalition would have had a comfortable overall majority, having won 184 of 300 single-member seats. So the current system is a sort of happy (or perhaps not-so-happy) medium between FPTP and MMP. As for a single national PR list, I’m of the view that it would be highly impractical for a country the size of Mexico, with a large and ethnically diverse population. In fact, at the present time each and every one of the five multi-member constituencies has a population in excess of twenty million inhabitants.

      Although they’re not by-elections in the strict sense of the word, from time to time Mexico has had “extraordinary” i.e. repeat elections in single-member districts where the original election outcome was thrown out by the Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) due to voting irregularities. The last such election took place in December 2015 in the first district of Aguascalientes state. In that particular case, the poll invalidation was triggered by a violation of the principle of neutrality and equality, on account of the state governor’s presence in a number of polling places on election day: one could say the latter got in plenty of hot water, both literally and figuratively (the name of the state literally translates as “hot waters” in English.)

      Finally, the requirement that each state be assigned a minimum of two seats had no distorting impact whatsoever in the current apportionment of single-member districts. The apportionment procedure – by the largest remainder method – requires that a state which has not received at least two Hare quotas be automatically awarded extra seats to bring its total to the two-seat minimum: this was the case with Baja California Sur and Colima in 2016, but in practice the allocation of largest remainders would have accomplished the same effect all by itself.

    • Concerning the 2016 Chamber of Deputies reapportionment, I should also note that re-running the process under Sainte-Laguë instead of Hare quota and largest remainder (and also without minimums) results in the exact same allocation of seats among the states and Mexico City. In either case, the population and seat ratios between the largest and smallest states (namely, Mexico State and Baja California Sur) aren’t substantially different, with the former standing at 23.8-to-1 and the latter at 20.5-to-1.

    • The regional list constituencies in Mexico all have the same magnitude. (Manuel’s comment has the details.) As far as the comparison to Germany is concerned, it is true that the list constituencies for that country’s MMP system are the states, but the compensation is done nationwide. And the overhang procedure can change the number of MPs per state from what it is at initial distribution. (The Mexican list allocations to parties are also calculated nationwide, notwithstanding the regional constituencies.)

      So, no, Mexico is not the only federal system in which seats can be allocated across states (provinces, etc.). Of course, no longer a democracy, but the Russian Federation has had a nationwide list constituency for some time; for a while that was how all seats were chosen.

      • “[…] the compensation is done nationwide.”

        I think you meant distribution instead of compensation: in Germany the actual compensation takes place at the state level, but based on the proportional distribution of all Bundestag seats on a nationwide basis, and the subsequent allocation of party seats among its state lists; there is no nationwide compensation per se since there are no nationwide lists (unlike in New Zealand). That said, since 2013 the sum of all state-level compensations (following the nationwide distribution) should produce the same outcome resulting from a nationwide compensation.

      • Also, in Germany the final number of seats assigned to a state depends on both turnout and the percentage of “wasted” votes cast, relative to the federal figures. Thus a state or states with a much lower turnout rate(s) and/or a much higher percentage of “wasted” votes than the rest of the country would end up with considerably fewer seats, because the party lists there would accrue fewer votes in the first place. That actually happened in 2002, when the former East German states were hit hard by both a lower than average turnout rate, and the exclusion of PDS, which fell below the five percent threshold and only won two direct mandates. Excluding Berlin, the former East German states had 18.2% of the German electorate, but the lower voter turnout rate there (eight percent below the figure for the former West Germany) reduced their overall share of the valid vote to 16.6%, and the further exclusion of PDS brought it down to 14.1% of the votes cast for parties entitled to take part in the proportional distribution of Bundestag mandates. As a result, the former East German states only returned 90 of 603 Bundestag members in 2002 (14.9%), down from 126 out of 669 (18.8%) four years earlier.

        But back to Mexico, I have come across some very interesting findings on yesterday’s election – details at five.

      • Manuel, perhaps a semantic difference. I would understand “the proportional distribution of all Bundestag seats on a nationwide basis” to be “nationwide compensation”.

  3. What about the Senate? I had assumed that it was unlikely AMLO’s alliance could win a senate majority. But seeing how much of a total, geographically dispersed, win this was, it could. Right?

    The current PREP shows 23 states won. That’s 46 senators. It also shows around 42% of the votes, which should be at least 14 seats out of the national pool. So that’s 60, and they would need to have the second-highest vote total in five of the other nine states to have a senate majority.

    So, unless I am missing something, it seems likely they will have a majority in both houses.

    • I haven’t forgotten about “the other place,” as the British would call it, but I’ve been utterly consumed with the Chamber of Deputies election: I must have run at least three verifications of the party seat distribution, to be absolutely sure I had it right. But first:

      “It seems an obvious flaw in the design of the system that parties can run in alliances, but the caps on over-representation are calculated at the individual party level.”

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. And the parties backing AMLO have made the most of it, to the point of tripling their majority in the Chamber of Deputies. That said, further down the road AMLO and MORENA may come to regret having given away so many seats to PT and PES.

      But back to the Senate, first places are distributed as follows:

      PAN – 0
      PRI – 0
      PRD – 0
      PVEM – 0
      PT – 0
      MC – 1
      PANAL – 0
      MORENA – 1
      PES – 0
      PAN-PRD-MC – 6
      PRI-PVEM-PANAL – 1
      PT-MORENA-PES – 23
      Independents – 0

      While the first minorities i.e. second places stand as follows:

      PAN – 1
      PRI – 0
      PRD – 0
      PVEM – 0
      PT – 0
      MC – 0
      PANAL – 0
      MORENA – 0
      PES – 0
      PAN-PRD-MC – 14
      PRI-PVEM-PANAL – 11
      PT-MORENA-PES – 6
      Independents – 0

      So multiplying the first places by two, and then adding to that total the second places gives the following results:

      PAN – 1
      PRI – 0
      PRD – 0
      PVEM – 0
      PT – 0
      MC – 2
      PANAL – 0
      MORENA – 2
      PES – 0
      PAN-PRD-MC – 26
      PRI-PVEM-PANAL – 13
      PT-MORENA-PES – 52
      Independents – 0

      And the coalition totals for the 96 majority and first minority seats would be as follows:

      PAN-PRD-MC – 29
      PRI-PVEM-PANAL – 13
      PT-MORENA-PES – 54

      Meanwhile, the nationwide distribution of PR Senate seats would be as follows (with party share of the vote in parentheses):

      PAN – 6 (17.7%)
      PRI – 6 (15.8%)
      PRD – 2 (5.4%)
      PVEM – 2 (4.4%)
      PT – 1 (3.8%)
      MC – 2 (4.6%)
      PANAL – 0 (2.4%)
      MORENA – 13 (37.5%)
      PES – 0 (2.4%)

      Therefore, the coalition Senate totals would be the following:

      PAN-PRD-MC: 29 + 10 = 39 (30.5%)
      PRI-PVEM-PANAL: 13 + 8 = 21 (16.4%)
      PT-MORENA-PES: 54 + 14 = 68 (53.1%)

      So the PT-MORENA-PES coalition would have a Senate majority of eight.

      I haven’t had a chance to look at the party affiliation of Senate coalition candidates, but I’ve come across the following party seat totals on Twitter:

      PAN: 18 + 6 = 24 (18.8%)
      PRI: 7 + 6 = 13 (10.2%)
      PRD: 6 + 2 = 8 (6.3%)
      PT: 5 + 1 = 6 (4.7%)
      PVEM: 5 + 2 = 7 (5.5%)
      MC: 5 + 2 = 7 (5.5%)
      NA: 1 + 0 = 1 (0.8%)
      MORENA: 42 + 13 = 55 (43.0%)
      PES: 7 + 0 = 7 (5.5%)

      The author of the Tweet, Ciro Murayama, works for the National Electoral Institute, so these party seat figures should be regarded as reliable if preliminary. At any rate, his coalition seat totals are in full agreement with my own calculations, as are those for the Chamber of Deputies for both parties and coalitions. All the same, I will be going over the Senate results tonight and tomorrow, and if I come across any discrepancy I’ll let you know.

      That said, notice the stark contrast between the Senate and the Chamber in the distribution of the MORENA-led coalition seats. To be certain, PT and PES are still over-represented in the Senate, but nowhere nearly as much as in the Chamber. However, the Senate does not have an eight percent cap for PR list seats, so the MORENA-led coalition would not have gained anything from giving away state seats to PT and PES. Finally – and interestingly enough – the overall distribution of Senate seats closely resembles the notional distribution of Chamber seats by coalitions rather than parties.

      • Having gone over the Senate preliminary results and the party nominations in the coalition agreements (which proved to be far less time-consuming than anticipated), I have obtained exactly the same party distribution of seats I cited on my previous comment.

        I also ran a notional allocation of Senate seats by coalitions, and perhaps unsurprisingly it differed very little from the actual preliminary outcome, with PT-MORENA-PES winning exactly the same number of total seats (68 of 128), while the PRI-PVEM-PANAL coalition picked up a couple seats (for a total of 23) at the expense of the PAN-PRD-MC coalition, which dropped to 37. Except for one PR seat shifting from the PAN-led coalition to the MORENA-led coalition, the few changes which took place came on account of the first minority i.e. second place changes.

        Finally, I had previously noted that in the Chamber of Deputies, MORENA only had 142 of 292 SMD coalition nominations (48.6%), while PT and PES had 75 each, for a total of 150. However, in the Senate MORENA had 49 of 62 coalition nominations (79%), while PES had 8 and PT 5. Once again, it is hard to escape the conclusion that in the absence of an eight percent cap for Senate seats, MORENA had little incentive to give away upper house nominations to its much smaller allies.

    • With Mexico’s district tallies now complete for the Senate state races and practically complete for the upper house PR vote, the only significant change since election night has taken place in Tamaulipas state, where the PT-MORENA-PES coalition narrowly overturned the preliminary PAN-PRD-MC advantage there; the distributions of state seats elsewhere in Mexico, and of PR list seats remain unchanged. As a result, PES will gain a seat from PAN, and the MORENA-led coalition’s incoming Senate majority increases to 69-59.

      This change would have been reflected as well in the notional coalitions-only scenario, resulting in an identical PT-MORENA-PES coalition Senate majority. Meanwhile, a zero-coalitions notional scenario, under which two seats would be assigned to the largest party in each state and one to the second largest – disregarding alliances in both cases – would have produced the following results:

      PAN – 27 (21 + 6)
      PRI – 22 (16 + 6)
      PRD – 2 (0 + 2)
      PVEM – 3 (1 + 2)
      PT – 1 (0 + 1)
      MC – 4 (2 + 2)
      PANAL – 0
      MORENA – 67 (54 + 13)
      PES – 0
      Independents – 2 (2 + 0)

      Under this scenario, MORENA and PT would have a 68-60 majority in the Senate, with MORENA holding an outright majority all by itself. However, as with the Chamber of Deputies SMD seats, the coalition-level seat totals would not differ significantly from the actual distribution of seats on the basis of the district tallies.

    • You’re welcome. I’ve been largely focused on the congressional races, but I haven’t lost sight of AMLO’s landslide victory, which has been record-breaking in many respects: with over thirty million votes cast in his favor, AMLO has racked up the largest-ever total for a Mexican presidential election candidate, with majorities in all but one federal entity and 276 of Mexico’s 300 Chamber districts (Ricardo Anaya of PAN-PRD-MC won the remaining twenty-four as well as Guanajuato state). Meanwhile, in the presidential poll MORENA won the largest number of votes in thirty federal entities and 268 districts, while PAN topped the poll in 29 districts as well as Guanajuato and Nuevo León states; PRI was the largest party in just three Chamber districts.

      While AMLO won decisively throughout Mexico, in the congressional races the country’s old north-south division remained very much in evidence. In the first and second Chamber multi-member constituencies, which span Mexico’s sixteen northern states, the results for the single-member district races were as follows:

      PT-MORENA-PES: 35.5%, 59 seats
      PAN-PRD-MC: 33.7%, 57 seats
      PRI-PVEM-NA: 25.1%, 6 seats

      However, in the third, fourth and fifth multi-member constituencies, which cover Mexico City and fifteen states in the south, the results were the following:

      PT-MORENA-PES: 48.4%, 159 seats
      PAN-PRD-MC: 24.0%, 11 seats
      PRI-PVEM-NA: 23.1%, 8 seats

      Going back to the U.K. analogy, the outcome is very much a mirror image of England, with the MORENA-led coalition overwhelmingly dominant in the south but in a closely fought race with the PAN-led coalition in the north. Moreover, the north itself can be split into a central belt dominated by PAN and its allies, and the northernmost states where MORENA and its coalition partners have a clear lead both in terms of votes and seats, but nowhere near as large as in the south. Once again, it would be a variation of the English case, where Labour dominates Northern England but the Midlands are largely Conservative albeit much more competitive than Southern England outside Greater London.

      Finally, in some states the distribution of Chamber district coalition nominations among constituent parties was so skewed it produced some really bizarre results at the party level. The most extreme example is probably the election outcome in Zacatecas state: at the coalition level the result is fairly ordinary, with PT-MORENA-PES winning three out of four districts with 40.4% of the vote, and PRI-PVEM-NA the remaining mandate with 35.1%; third-placed PAN-PRD-MC won 20.5% of the vote but no seats. However, although MORENA and PRI emerged as the state’s two largest single parties, with 30.8% and 25.3% shares, respectively, neither won a single district seat; instead PT won two, while PVEM and PES won one each, even though the three parties won vote shares of just 7.5%, 6.1% and 2.1%, respectively. On the other hand, in the Senate election MORENA secured the two majority seats won by PT-MORENA-PES, while PRI received the first minority seat obtained by PRI-PVEM-NA.

  4. 1. Where can I find the coalition agreements about the distribution of single member districts between the parties?

    2. I’ve read that parties which fail to pass the threshold of 3% are disbanded and not allowed to run slates of candidates in the next election (even if they win FPTP seats). Can anyone confirm this?

    3. Is the same electoral system (3% threshold, 40% PR seats, 60% FPTP seats, 8% cap) also used for the election of state parliaments and municipal councils?
    It seems to be nearly impossible to find any information about the election of municipal councils in Mexico. (I don’t speak any Spanish.)

    • 1. The coalition agreements are published on INE’s website, specifically on the link listed below. On that page, select a coalition under “Coaliciones que participarán en las elecciones de 2018,” and then click on “Convenio Modificado Integrado” for the PDF-format coalition agreement file.

      2. Based on the district tally counts, PANAL and PES appear set to lose their registration, having failed to attain three percent of the valid nationwide vote total in at least one of three federal polls held earlier this month. Although both parties have challenged the election outcome in the Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF), INE has already begun the liquidation process as set forth by law, and appointed officials (“interventores”) to oversee it, as detailed in the following press release:

      As far as I know, a party which has lost its registration would have to re-register in order to take part in future elections. However, the party may choose to remain registered as a local party in those federal entities where it secured three percent of the valid vote in the preceding election.

      PES has been insisting a requested TEPJF review of 16,000 or so casillas (polling stations) would produce around 300,000 extra votes, which would allow the party to retain its registration. The party makes this claim citing recounts during the district tally process which increased its vote total by that amount, but I matched the polling station-level preliminary and district tally results, and found out that the 300,000 votes gained by PES in the district tallies actually came from over 30,000 polling stations with 11-12 million votes that had not been tallied at all in the preliminary count, either because they hadn’t been captured by the preliminary election results program (PREP), or because they had been captured but could not be included in the count for one reason or another; for example, in the presidential race PREP captured over 93% of polling stations, but only 80% of the overall total were actually tallied at that point. At any rate, in polling stations reporting results in both the preliminary and district tally counts, PES gained only about 7,000 votes in over 90,000 polling stations recounted for the presidential race; in the legislative races, the party actually lost a few thousand votes. Meanwhile, the share of PES votes in the outstanding polling stations counted at the district tally stage was at best just marginally larger (about 0.1%) than the percentage of votes won by the party in the preliminary results.

      Personally, I believe it’s all but certain that PANAL and PES will lose their federal registration. In 2015, the district tallies had PT at 2.99%, and that figure remained largely unchanged after TEPJF handed down revised results following numerous appeals. However, the Electoral Tribunal had invalidated the relative majority election in the first district of Aguascalientes state, while also ruling that the result of the subsequent extraordinary (i.e. repeat) election there should be added to the vote totals in the remaining 299 districts, in order to determine if PT would retain its registration or not. In the end, PT – which was originally some five thousand votes short of the three percent threshold – more than quadrupled its vote in the repeat election (not least because its then-ally PRD didn’t take part in the vote to give PT a clear run) and retained its registration.

      3. Mexican state and local elections are beyond my scope, but a cursory reading of Sections 27 and 28 of the Electoral Institutions and Procedures General Law (“Ley General de Instituciones y Procedimientos Electorales”) indicates the electoral system for state legislatures is broadly similar to that of the federal Chamber of Deputies.

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