MEXICO CITY, MX - JULY 2: Presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) celebrates with supporters on July 2, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. Results of an official preliminary count indicate that Mexico's presidential election front-runner Enrique Pena Nieto holds a substantial lead over Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. (Photo by Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images)2012 Getty Images
Mexico City – The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) - Mexico's old ruling party - appears to have fallen just short of winning the 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 PRI, 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.