Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mass protest planned against Mexico electoral overhaul

Mexico’s opposition
plans a mass protest against President Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador’s drive to shrink the independent electoral
authority, arguing the changes threaten democracy – an
accusation he vigorously denies.

Mexico’s Congress last week approved a major overhaul of the
National Electoral Institute (INE), which Lopez Obrador has
repeatedly attacked as corrupt and inefficient.

Critics of the legislation, which will slash the INE’s
budget and staff, are holding marches on Sunday in Mexico City and other
major cities as the contentious shake-up appears poised to go
before the Mexican Supreme Court.

The INE and its predecessor played a key role in creating a
pluralistic democracy that in 2000 ended decades of one-party
rule, according to many political analysts.

Fernando Belaunzaran, an opposition politician helping to
organise the protests, said the changes weakened the electoral
system and increased the risk of disputes clouding the 2024
elections when Lopez Obrador’s successor will be chosen.

“Normally presidents try to have governability and
stability for their succession, but the president is creating
uncertainty,” said Belaunzaran. “He’s playing with fire.”

Mexican presidents may only serve a single six-year term.

Lopez Obrador, a 69-year-old leftist who contends he was
robbed of the presidency twice before he finally romped to a
crushing victory in the 2018 election, argues the INE is too
expensive and biased in favour of his opponents.

The institute denies this.


According to the INE, the president’s overhaul violates the
constitution, curbs the institute’s independence and eliminates
thousands of jobs dedicated to safeguarding the electoral
process, making it harder to hold free and fair elections.

Lopez Obrador has also weakened other autonomous bodies that
check his power on the grounds that they are a drain on the
public purse and hostile to his political project. He says his
INE shake-up will save $150 million a year.

This week he called the INE “anti-democratic” and a tool of
the ruling elite, accusing it of fomenting electoral fraud.

Polls show the president’s National Regeneration Movement
(MORENA), which in just a few years has become the dominant
force in Mexico, is a strong favourite to win the 2024 election.

Critics of the INE overhaul argue Lopez Obrador is not
confident MORENA can retain power without interference in the
electoral process. He denies this.

Belaunzaran and his fellow demonstrators aim to fill Mexico
City’s central Zocalo square, which abuts the presidential
palace and is freighted with political significance.

READ MORE: Obrador calls for mass mobilisation to celebrate ‘transformation of Mexico’

More from AmericasMore posts in Americas »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *