Mexico's old ruling party falls short of majority

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held Mexico

Enrique Pena Nieto, presidential candidate for the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), greets supporters at his party's headquarters in Mexico City, early Monday, July 2, 2012.(AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's old ruling party and its allies appear to have fallen just short of a majority in both houses of Congress, electoral authorities said Tuesday, giving smaller parties the potential of leveraging their swing votes and increasing the likelihood parties will try to poach congressmen from rivals.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held Mexico's presidency for 71 years, has been declared the winner of the July 1 presidential elections, marking its first return to the presidency since 2000.

Known as the PRI, it is allied with the smaller Green Party, and together they won 240 seats in the 500-seat lower house of Congress. The PRI has had an on-again, off-again alliance with the New Alliance party, controlled by the head of Mexico's largest teachers' union, which won an additional 10 seats in the lower house.

Together, the three parties would have exactly half of the lower house, but the entire 500 legislators are almost never present for any session.

The Federal Electoral Institute also projected Tuesday that the PRI and Green parties would have 61 seats in the 128-seat senate, and the New Alliance will have one senator. If they vote together the three parties would have 62 seats in the Senate, three short of a majority.

The figures are projections. Because some seats are directly elected and some are assigned proportionally, based on a complex formula that takes into account each party's share of the vote, the final totals will be announced by a federal electoral court within a few weeks.

Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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