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In Mexico, history was made over the weekend in a state gubernatorial election


Voters in Mexico's biggest state made history yesterday. For the first time in nearly a century, the country's revolutionary party lost in gubernatorial elections. And it lost to an insurgent party founded by Mexico's president. As NPR's Eyder Peralta reports, it's seen as part of a broad rejection of traditional politics across Latin America.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: By 10 a.m., Maria Orlando had voted, and she was already out at the market.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Spanish).

PERALTA: For all 69 years of her life, she had voted for the party born in the aftermath of the Mexican revolution.

MARIA ORLANDO: (Speaking Spanish).

PERALTA: Everyone used to vote for them, she says, but they never helped. So this time, no way. She lives in Ecatepec, a massive suburb of Mexico City. She looks around. What she wants from her government is very simple.

ORLANDO: (Speaking Spanish).

PERALTA: "We need running water. We want for the potholes to be filled and for our streets to be safe," she says. For these gubernatorial elections, Mexico's most established political parties - the PRI, the PAN and the PRD - parties that were once historical enemies banded together to try to defeat Morena, the party of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. But the super coalition failed. Instead, Delfina Gomez, a former teacher with relatively little political experience, won by a huge margin.

VIRI RIOS: What we are observing, I guess, is the consolidation of a political force that we never imagined that could have become so powerful so fast.

PERALTA: That's political scientist Viri Rios. The president's party, Morena, didn't even exist a decade ago. But today, it controls the executive, congress and the states. And now that it has taken the biggest state in Mexico, it leaves the PRI, what was once the most powerful political party in Mexico, on life support. To Rios, Morena represents a wave of discontent in Latin America. Traditional parties have not paid dividends, so voters are turning to outsiders.

RIOS: With a huge mandate of destroying the elites and changing the political class as we know. it

PERALTA: Rios says she hopes this insurgent party can meet the demands of the people of Mexico because at this point, Mexican voters have given every political party in the country a chance.

RIOS: And now, you know, what would happen if the political class does not give results to people that are hungry for change in this country?

PERALTA: Hopefully, she says, the new party doesn't turn out the same as the old ones.

Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Ecatepec, in the state of Mexico. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.