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A Guide to 2018 Latin American Elections: Mexico



July 1 marked the biggest elections in Mexico’s history, given that a constitutional reform aligned federal and local election dates to increase the number of posts by 60 percent compared to the 2012 general elections. Voters cast ballots for president, both houses of Congress, the head of government in Mexico City, eight governors, and local posts in 30 out of 32 states.

But the elections were historic for reasons that went well beyond their sheer size. Mexicans—worn out by violence, corruption, and limited economic opportunities—showed their dissatisfaction with the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party. They turned out in droves for a third-time candidate, leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who frequently railed against the “Mafia del Poder.” He beat his next-closest rival by roughly 30 points and, with preliminary results showing him snagging 53 percent of the vote, became the first president in three decades to win more than half of ballots cast.

His party showed strong results across the country, and the next question is how this massive shift will define Mexico’s future.

>> Find out about other elections in our main 2018 Election Guide.

President AMLO at his swearing-in ceremony.

Counting Down the First 100 Days of AMLO's Presidency

March 10, 2019

In Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office December 1. Through regular updates, AS/COA covered the start of what the new leader calls the country's Fourth Transformation. 

AMLO takes office December 1. (

LatAm in Focus: What to Expect from an AMLO Presidency

November 29, 2018

Listen: Former Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan says migration tensions will be an early test for Mexico’s incoming president. Plus, Speyside Mexico’s Amy Glover on the chances for positive change.

In Mexico, Four Items on AMLO's Transition Agenda

October 03, 2018

Three months since his electoral win, Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador is already taking on violence, education, U.S. relations, and a massive airport project.

LatAm in Focus: MORENA Holds the Cards in Mexico's New Congress

September 04, 2018

Listen: With work to be done to build a counterweight, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s party has plenty of room to push through priorities, says Odracir Barquera.

Video: Mexico's Future Trade Policy

August 01, 2018

From NAFTA negotiations to Chinese relations, panelists explored Mexico’s trade opportunities under incoming President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

AMLO with Kushner and Pompeo

Signals of AMLO's Future Foreign Policy for Mexico

July 25, 2018

So far, Mexico’s next president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is looking north more than south, writes AS/COA's Carin Zissis.

Video: What an AMLO Victory Means for Mexico

July 18, 2018

Mexico's next president made major campaign pledges. A panel of experts assessed if and how he can make good on his promises.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Viewpoint: What to Expect from AMLO's Meeting with White House Top Brass

July 11, 2018

Mexico’s future president meets with Mike Pompeo, Kirstjen Nielsen, Steven Mnuchin, and Jared Kushner this week. AS/COA’s Carin Zissis explores the meeting’s context.

5 Charts: AMLO's Wave Washes over Mexico

5 Charts: AMLO's Wave Washes over Mexico

July 05, 2018

MORENA, the party of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saw sweeping wins on election day at both the state and federal level.

Mexican elections

Update: Measuring Outcomes in Mexico's Gubernatorial Races

July 05, 2018

Nine of Mexico's states held races for their top posts. The governing PRI lost all of them.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Viewpoint: Four Takeaways from AMLO's Victory in Mexico

July 02, 2018

The third try turned out to be the charm for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s next president.


Mexico, Technical Rehearsals for Change

June 28, 2018

What will Andrés Manuel López Obrador's electoral victory mean for Mexico's energy sector? AS/COA's Naki Mendoza explains in About Energy.

Poll tracker graphic

Poll Tracker: Mexico's 2018 Presidential Election

June 27, 2018

We monitor the findings of some of Mexico's main pollsters to see how candidates are faring ahead of the July 1 vote.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

J.P. Morgan Podcast: AS/COA's Susan Segal on Mexico's Presidential Election

June 27, 2018

AS/COA's CEO and president spoke with J.P. Morgan about what investors think about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the frontrunner in Mexico's election.

Mexican students at the National Library (Image: Carin Zissis)

LatAm in Focus: Millennials' Big Role in the Mexican Elections

June 26, 2018

Nación321’s Pancho Parra talks about why the youngest voters back the oldest candidate and their expectations for the future.

Mexico' Elections by the Numbers

Mexico's Elections by the Numbers

June 29, 2018

Here are seven numbers to know in the final countdown to the July 1 vote.

Video: Denise Dresser and Gerardo Esquivel on #EleccionesMéxico

June 05, 2018

“Who is the real [Andrés Manuel] López Obrador?” This was one of the questions Dresser posited to the Mexican presidential frontrunner's economic advisor.

Mexico's 2018 Election: 5 Things to Know with 1 Month to Go

May 31, 2018

From polarization to ageism to the expat vote, AS/COA's Carin Zissis covers trends of note in the countdown to the presidential election.

Andrés Manuel López Obrado in Nuevo León, Mexico.

LatAm in Focus: Why Mexico's Election Will Redraw the Country's Political Map

June 12, 2018

Mexican pollster Jorge Buendía explains why Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s poll lead keeps growing, and how the election is redefining political rivalries.

Candidates in Mexico's 2nd presidential debate

6 Weeks to Go: A Debate, Congressional Shifts, and One Candidate Out in Mexico's Race

May 24, 2018

We’re down to fewer than 40 days until Mexico’s election.

A man waves a flag at the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing.

7 Weeks to Go: How North American Ties Fit into Mexico's Elections

May 15, 2018

Amid unease over NAFTA timelines, we take a look at how relations with Washington factor into Mexico’s July 1 presidential vote.

Meade and Juarez Cisneros

8 Weeks to Go: Inside Mexico's Elections

May 08, 2018

A new PRI head, AMLO and business leaders, an ill-conceived tweet. AS/COA's Carin Zissis writes from Mexico on the latest issues shaping the races.

Chart: The Millennial Vote in Latin America's Big Three Elections

Chart: The Millennial Vote in Latin America's Big Three Elections

May 04, 2018

How significant is the under-35 electorate in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico? 

Ballot boxes for gubernatorial and municipal elections in Mexico (AP)

Explainer: Mexico's 2018 Gubernatorial Elections

May 02, 2018

The governing PRI could lose all nine races, but it’s not the only party at risk. Here’s why these seats matter, along with potential victors ahead of July 1.

A Shaky Debate Won't Trouble López Obrador. It Might Even Help Him.

May 21, 2018

The Mexican frontrunner’s debate performances may simply be brandishing his anti-establishment bona-fides with voters.

Mexico's 2018 presidential candidates April 22 debate: Margarita Zavala, Jose Antonio Meade, Ricardo Anaya, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador AMLO, Jaime El Bronco Rodriguez

Viewpoint: Four Takeaways from Mexico's First Presidential Debate

April 23, 2018

The much-anticipated event was seen as a chance to dent AMLO’s formidable poll lead. Here’s what happened during the April 22 debate.

Mexican presidential candidates: Ricardo Anaya (PAN), Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador aka AMLO (Morena), Jose Antonio Meade (PRI), Jaime El Bronco Rodriguez, Margarita Zavala (independent)

Explainer: Mexico's 2018 Election and Presidential Candidates

April 05, 2018

The presidential race is officially underway. Here's the rundown on the country’s biggest election in history.

Video: Mexico's Elections and the Race to Los Pinos

April 18, 2018

Watch: Get insights on the truth about polls, what an AMLO victory could mean for the energy sector, and bright spots for Mexico amid a fierce electoral battle. 

Mexico-U.S. ties

The Real Challenge to U.S.-Mexico Relations

April 16, 2018

Mexicans won't pick their next president based on Trump tweets, but that doesn't mean bilateral ties aren't in jeopardy, writes AS Board Member Arturo Sarukhan in The Hill.

Mexico's National Palace (Carin Zissis)

LatAm in Focus: Put a Little Trust in Mexico

March 22, 2018

Mexicans may not place faith in government but, as a new survey shows, they trust civil society to step up. An initiative launched in March demonstrates why.

2018 Election Guide Poll Update

Poll Update: In Mexico, Meade Rises but AMLO Rises More

March 22, 2018

In a March El Financiero presidential poll, the PRI’s José Antonio Meade takes the number two spot by a hair, but frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador now has an 18-point edge.

Voter turnout in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, and Venezuela since 2000

Chart: A Deep Dive into Voter Turnout in Latin America

June 19, 2018

More people will vote in Brazil in 2018 than in all other Latin American countries combined.

Video: 2018 Elections in Latin America - Americas Quarterly Launch Event

February 13, 2018

AQ brought together an expert panel to discuss issues ranging from Russian meddling to fake news to the market's effects on Latin America's 2018 elections.

Poll Update: An Early Look at Mexico's 2018 Presidential Race

Poll Update: An Early Look at Mexico's 2018 Presidential Race

February 01, 2018

We’ve got some time until the July 1 election, but the race is heating up for the next occupant of Los Pinos.

2018 Latin American elections flags

A Timeline of 2017 and 2018 Elections in Latin America

November 16, 2017

Latin Americans will vote for nine new presidents in two years, along with more than 2,900 legislators.

Latin America's Angry Outsiders

January 22, 2018

In this new issue of AQ, we preview the region’s 2018 elections – and explain why anti-establishment nationalists are rising in the polls.

A voter in Chihuahua, Mexico. (AP)

LatAm in Focus: From Elections to Trade, Latin America's Big 2018 Stories

January 11, 2018

If 2017 was the year that changed Washington, 2018 will redefine Latin America. AS/COA experts explain how in our first podcast of the year.

Meade and Peña. (AP)

Mexico Update: The 2018 Presidential Race Comes into Focus

November 30, 2017

On November 27, José Antonio Meade threw his hat into the ring. Can he beat Andrés Manuel López Obrador—and a whole host of other contenders?