Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador minimized the scope of the protests against the electoral reform, some mobilizations that criticize the so-called ‘Plan B’ promoted by the Government and approved by the Senate last week. Among the most controversial points of the reform is the reduction of the budget of the National Electoral Institute (INE).
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador came out this 27 in defense of his electoral reform approved by the Senate last week and criticized the reasons behind the demonstrations that spread throughout the country on Sunday.
“Yesterday’s demonstration and others that will come are part of this purpose of confronting us because they do not want the transformation of the country, they want to continue stealing, they want to return to their privileges, they want to keep the majority of the Mexicans,” AMLO said.
Thousands of people mobilized on Sunday against the modifications to the National Electoral Institute (INE); some reforms that had been promoted by the president in a proposal called ‘Plan B’.
The demonstrators chanted two slogans: “We defend democracy” and “The INE does not touch itself.”
The president referred to both. “They don’t care about democracy, but what they want is for the predominance of an oligarchy to continue, that is, a government of the rich, of the powerful,” said the president.
And he added: “When they say: ‘The INE is not touched’. What you have to be thinking about is that you don’t touch what they want: corruption”.
The noise of the massive opposition demonstrations
According to figures released by the Government this Monday, in the Zócalo, the central square of Mexico City, between 80,000 and 100,000 people gathered. Massive mobilizations were also registered in other cities.
“Still very small for what the conservative potential in Mexico represents,” AMLO said.
Despite the president’s statements, which minimized the scope of the protests, these were the most numerous that have been exhibited against government initiatives.
The discontent had a trigger: the approval by the Senate of the electoral reform promoted by López Obrador, which among its most controversial points, is the reduction of the budget and personnel of the INE.
According to opponents, this measure would endanger the independence and autonomy of the organization. A cut by which, they point out, the legitimacy of the electoral processes would be affected.
The controversial ‘Plan B’ of López Obrador
The reform promoted by the ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), is undoubtedly less ambitious than its predecessor: a proposal that sought to modify 18 articles of the country’s Constitution and that contemplated the creation of the National Institute of Elections and Consultations, as a replacement for the INE.
The original project failed by not finding the two-thirds required in Congress for a constitutional reform.
But even so, this continues to generate controversy. ‘Plan B’ is made up of several points that set off alarm bells in various Mexican sectors.
One of them is the cut of 80% of the salaries of the electoral body. A budget cut that, as Luis Miguel Carriedo, a specialist in electoral communication and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, points out to EFE, “although the INE does not disappear, the electoral structure is thinning.”
This creates, among other things, a challenge to manage the 2024 presidential elections.
Another reform that has been strongly criticized is a clause called ‘Salgado Macedonio’, a name that refers to a Morena politician whose candidacy for the state of Guerrero was canceled for not submitting his pre-campaign spending reports.
“Now, ‘Plan B’ puts a measure that says that no one can be removed from a candidacy, except in the cases of Article 38 of the Constitution, this means that only those who are subject to criminal proceedings could eventually be disqualified,” explains Carriedo.
On the other hand, organizations like Aúna, which promotes the political representation of women, argue that this reform has effects on parity.
“It will directly affect women seeking public office,” says Mónica Tapia, co-founder of the platform. And she adds that parity will depend on the parties, “without the guarantees of review and compliance that the INE has made.”
The perspective of Andrés Manuel López Obrador is another. The president has been a staunch critic of the INE, which he has cataloged multiple times as corrupt.
According to AMLO, the organization supported an alleged fraud against him during his presidential races in 2006 and 2012. On both occasions he came out the loser.
The president assures that its restructuring is key to ending this alleged corruption within the INE. In addition, he has indicated that it would save the country 150 million dollars a year.
With EFE and Reuters