Mexico: 1st Independent Governor Elected, Ruling Party Leads Congress

 / Updated 
Image: Jaime Rodriguez, independent candidate for governor of Nuevo Leon state, celebrates his victory after midterm elections in Monterrey
Jaime Rodriguez, independent candidate for governor of Nuevo Leon state, celebrates his victory after midterm elections in Monterrey, June 7, 2015. Rodriguez, alias "El Bronco", has become Mexico's first independent candidate to win a governorship, capitalizing popular anger angainst the traditional parties and taken advantage of a new electoral law, local media reported. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril DANIEL BECERRIL / Reuters

Mexicans cast their ballots on Sunday amid the presence of thousands of soldiers and federal police, and the voting resulted in the election of the country's first independent governor. And despite widespread voter dissatisfaction, the country's ruling PRI party retained its dominance in Congress through the seats it gained through a coalition ally, the Green Party.

As of late Sunday, Jaime Rodriguez, known as "El Bronco" was the unofficial winner in the governor's race in Nuevo Leon, which includes the suburb of Monterrey where many of the country's big companies are located. Rodriguez, who survived 2 assassination attempts, said the first thing he would do is to attack corruption.

"We have to investigate the entire previous government," Rodriguez said.

Sunday's elections were the first to allow independent candidates like Rodriguez to run for office, after electoral reform enacted last year. In all, almost half - 47 percent - of voters cast ballots for local seats, the lower house of Congress and 9 of 31 governorships.

Protesters burned ballots in several regions of the country and clashed with local authorities in areas like Tixtla, in Guerrero. As Telemundo's Raul Torres reported, dissident teachers and protesters were strongly opposed to the voting. This was the region that saw 43 teachers' college students abducted and presumably killed by local authorities working with organized crime, an event that shook the country and had many Mexicans calling for an end to the corruption and violent crime.

Ahead of the elections, 3 candidates were killed, and at least 13 others associated with the campaigns.

Political analyst Idalia Gomez told Telemundo's Jimena Duarte there was frustration and a feeling of impotence among many voters who criticized the steep cost - $330 million -of the elections. One voter told Telemundo the promises of reforms and change were "puros cuentos," ("pure stories").

"Definitely I don't think my vote will change anything at all," said one voter to Duarte.

Another voter told Telemundo, "whether we have faith or not (in the government), we have to do our part."

-The Associated Press contributed to this report.