After his reforms of the energy sector and public security, the Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has succeeded in a new passage in force by getting approval for a reform that amputates the National Electoral Institute (INE) of a large part of its budget and its employees and curbs the faculties of the Electoral Court.
Critics say the reform, passed by the Senate at second reading on the night of Wednesday, December 14, represents a three-decade setback for Mexico’s young and fragile democracy and a return to a presidential system. supported by a hegemonic party, similar to that imposed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for more than seventy years. They fear that the president’s attack on the operational structure of the INE will favor his party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena, left) for the presidential elections of 2024, where the continuity of his political project will be at stake.
“The reform disrupts a well-functioning electoral system. It could improve, no doubt, but it has resulted in the longest period of political stability in the democratic history of Mexico: we have had eight and a half years without post-election conflict,” comments Lorenzo Cordova, the president of the INE, in an interview with The world. “It is a badly planned and badly implemented reform, with bad contents, without initial diagnosis and which is not based on exact data. This is a big problem and we are not exaggerating in saying that, for the first time in thirty years, the elections are in great danger”he is alarmed.
Animosity towards the INE
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – also known by his initials AMLO – and Morena executives reject such criticism. They maintain that the reform will curb the interference of the INE in the parties and will save between 170 and 250 million euros for an institution which they consider expensive. They assure that the reform promotes participatory democracy and that it will facilitate, for example, the vote of Mexicans residing in the United States.
Born in 1990 in response to one of the most notorious electoral frauds in recent Mexican history, the INE has steadily strengthened its role as an arbiter. He coordinates the observers in the polling stations, checks the electoral list, validates the results, scrutinizes party finances, monitors speaking times and acts of propaganda, enforces quotas and imposes sanctions, which can go as far as the annulment of elections or the ineligibility of candidates. It also has constitutional autonomy which ensures its independence from the government.
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