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Upcoming July 2 Elections Include Battle For Control Of Congress

ISSN:1054-8890
LADB Article ID: 53848
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2000-06-14
By: LADB Staff

The battle to gain control of the Mexican Congress is expected to be every bit as fierce as the presidential race in the upcoming July 2 elections. At stake are all 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 96 of the 128 seats in the Senate. Voters will elect 300 deputies for the lower house, with another 200 seats distributed based on the proportion of the popular vote received by each party. Deputies will serve for a single three-year term and are not eligible for re-election. In the Senate, voters will elect 64 senators directly, with another 32 distributed based on the proportion of the vote received. Senators elected in July will serve for a six- year term, joining the 32 senators whose term expires in 2003. The system of distributing seats based on a percentage of the popular vote was developed to give smaller parties representation in Congress. Under this system, any party that wins at least 1.5% of the popular vote can qualify for one or more of the seats allocated in the Chamber of Deputies. One party expected to benefit from the process is the Partido de Democracia Social (PDS). PDS presidential candidate Ricardo Rincon Gallardo is given little chance of winning the presidential election, but his strong performance in the first presidential debate probably won the PDS enough popular support to gain a handful of seats in the next Congress.

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