Rejection of AMLO’s electoral reforms in Mexico hits the streets

Rejection of AMLO's electoral reforms in Mexico hits the streets

First modification:

The marches, called by the traditional opposition parties and some 100 organizations, took place in the country’s capital and 100 other cities. The protesters are against the reform package known as ‘Plan B’, which affects the National Electoral Institute and which was approved last Wednesday by the Mexican Senate.

In Mexico City, the epicenter of the marches, the giant flag that usually crowns the capital’s Zócalo was not raised this Sunday. What was felt was the mobilization that, according to the spokespersons for the organizers, brought together more than half a million people in the square and nearby places, for just over an hour. Other voices present in the place posted lower figures.

The fact is that close to 100 organizations participated under the slogan “I came to defend the INE” and representatives of the opposition political parties also attended: National Action (PAN), Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Institutional Revolutionary (PRI).

“This is the march where hundreds of thousands of citizens across the country, representing millions, stand up for our democracy and reaffirm our confidence in the judiciary to vote against ‘Plan B’ that aims to load the dice in favor of Morena (AMLO’s political awning) and take away our right to freely exercise the vote,” said PRI senator Claudia Ruiz.

For some government critics, the changes to ‘Plan B’ are a maneuver by Obrador so that his political group continues in power and they made their displeasure visible in front of the country’s Supreme Court, also demanding that it revoke the changes to the electoral body. Among them was a former member of the high court.

“We trust them,” said José Ramón Cossío, a retired minister of the Court, pointing to the headquarters of the judicial body. “In their democratic spirit and in their ability to understand the seriousness of the decisions they will take to preserve the democratic life of the country,” he concluded.

In the imposing urban setting, considered one of the largest plazas in Latin America, shouts of: “Get out with López” and long live Mexico were heard. What now seems a contradiction considering that, in that same place, AMLO led important mobilizations against the political establishment prior to his mandate.

The same claim was heard in other cities such as Jalisco, Yucatán, Guanajuato, Veracruz. According to sources consulted by the local newspaper ‘Excélsior’ 22,000 people gathered in Monterrey, while some 20,000 did so in Guadalajara, according to information collected by the rotary ‘Millennium’.

The Discord Reforms

The set of changes to the National Electoral Institute, which is included in ‘Plan B’, was approved last Wednesday by the Mexican Senate with 72 votes in favor and 50 against. This package of reforms was presented in December 2022, after the legislature rejected a first proposal in which, among other aspects, it proposed the replacement of the INE by another body: the National Institute of Elections and Consultations.

‘Plan B’ limits the INE economically and politically, reduces the district headquarters from 300 to 264, and authorizes migrants and Mexicans residing abroad to vote online. It also dictates that the parties will be obliged to guarantee candidacies to diverse groups such as people with disabilities, LGBTIQ+, youth, indigenous people, Afro-Mexicans and migrants.

It also limits the use, on election day, of prepaid cards or any other type of electronic wallet. Means used to buy votes.

The representative of the PAN, Indira Morales, stressed that on that day “practically the same thing” was voted, removing “the famous ‘eternal life’ clause”, the same one that the Morena senators affirm is not a transfer, it is distribution, something totally different,” he said.

Morales was referring to one of the aspects rejected in the first reform proposal. The ‘eternal life’ clause emphasized that large parties could transfer part of their votes to small political parties with which they had an alliance or coalition, in order for them to retain registration as a political party. The clause was rejected, when it was determined that the votes should not become “political merchandise.”

The INE has also manifested itself. The agency argues that the president’s reform violates the constitution, curbs his electoral independence and eliminates thousands of jobs, making it difficult to hold free and fair elections.

Despite the mobilizing pulse of this day led by the opposition, AMLO continues with approval ratings of 60%. The polls also show the high probability that Morena will take over the National Palace for the next term, for which Andrés Manuel ruled out his candidacy.

With EFE and Reuters

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Written by Editor TLN

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