(CNN Spanish) — The so-called “plan B” of the electoral reform of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador —approved by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies— continues to cause strong controversy in the country, where calls for the Supreme Court to intervene are multiplying. months before the start of a new cycle of general elections.

What is the electoral reform?

López Obrador proposed a constitutional reform in April 2022 with the intention, according to him, of lowering the costs of the electoral system in Mexico.

That project did not obtain the necessary special majority in Congress and, as a result, the president responded with “plan B”, based on secondary law reforms, which did manage to pass the Upper House.

In a nutshell, the bill backed by federal senators and deputies seeks to cut the budget of the National Electoral Institute (INE), which could lead to an 85% reduction in its staff, as well as the closure of several local electoral offices. the electoral authority.

a sensitive moment

Election officials warn that the change will affect their ability to hold free and fair elections ahead of the 2024 general election, when López Obrador, whose term is limited to six years, is expected to name a successor.

Lorenzo Córdova, who heads the INE, said in this regard on Twitter that the measure could “seriously affect future electoral processes.”

AMLO’s argument

López Obrador has argued that his electoral reform initiative responds to the citizens’ demand for an austerity policy and to create electoral bodies that guarantee legitimate elections, without the possibility of fraud.

AMLO on the march of the INE: Let them continue to demonstrate. We fill it 60 times 3:39

Mexico’s president has said the plan will save millions of dollars and make voting more efficient. López Obrador has consistently criticized the salaries of high-ranking INE officials, calling them exaggerated, and has accused the institution of enabling fraud in previous elections.

Harsh criticism of AMLO’s electoral reform ‘Plan B’

According to critics, these reforms reduce the autonomy and capacity of the INE to organize the 2024 elections, where in addition to electing the new president, the Legislative Branch and most of the governorships, local councils, mayors and local offices will be renewed.

The cut figures

According to an analysis issued by the 11 INE councilors, the plan minimizes the Electoral Professional Service, one of the fundamental axes of the institution, says the former electoral councilor Alfredo Figueroa, since it is in charge of carrying out the electoral processes throughout and width of the country. The councilors estimate that about 85% of the positions in this service would be eliminated.

“The ability to install nearly 160,000 polling stations on election day or that people are poorly trained is called into question. All of this is at stake in the electoral process and since that is at stake, the exercise of the right to vote is at stake,” Figueroa explained in this regard.

“My vote is not touched”

This is how the Zócalo of Mexico City was filled in the INE march 1:19

On February 26, at least between 80,000 and 100,000 people came out to protest against the reform in Mexico City, according to the figures provided by López Obrador himself, in many cases with signs that said “The INE does not touch”. They carried out demonstrations in dozens of Mexican cities and in some in the United States.

The protesters’ goal is for the Supreme Court to intervene and invalidate the plan approved in Congress.

Beatriz Pagés, an activist from the citizen organization UNID@S, explained to CNN what the objective of the pronouncements is: “We want to prevent (…) Mexico from becoming a Nicaragua, from becoming a Venezuela or a Cuba,” he said in an interview with Conclusions. “If the court ministers do not invalidate Plan B, they are going to place Mexico at the gates of hell, that is, at the starting point of a path towards an electoral dictatorship from which Mexico could take years and longs to save itself” , alerted.

During his morning press conference daily on the Monday after the demonstration, López Obrador mocked the cartels and said that what they meant was “Corruption is not touched”. “According to them, privileges are not touched, the narco-State is not touched,” he added, alleging without evidence that the protest leaders “have been part of the corruption in Mexico, they have belonged to the narco-State.”

What is behind the cost of the elections?

Are Mexico’s elections expensive? Jorge Castañeda, former foreign minister and contributor to CNN en Español, explained that, in a calculation by vote, they are more expensive than those of European countries such as Sweden or France, and also compared to Latin countries such as Uruguay and Chile.

The arguments for it to be so, according to his vision, are weighty: “Why? Well, because Mexico has only been having fair and fair elections for only 20 years. Mexico began this process of representative democracy just 20 years ago. During the 190 years prior to Mexico’s independent life, there had never been free and fair elections.

Therefore, he said, “Mexico had to invent a series of mechanisms to fight mistrust” that include a parallel structure of polling stations, polling place representatives and other figures.

With information from Natalia Cano, Karol Suárez, Hira Humayun, Fernando del Rincón and Rocío Muñoz-Ledo.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here