Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

Mexico’s president defends controversial electoral reform bill

Mexico’s president defends controversial electoral reform bill

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he expects court challenges against measure to cut the budget of the electoral agency.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has defended a controversial bill that would cut the budget of the country’s electoral agency and weaken oversight of campaign spending.

“All of this is part of normal politics in a democracy,” Lopez Obrador said of the legislation on Thursday.

Lopez Obrador said he expects court challenges to the bill, like those previously filed against many of his administration’s reforms. But he added that the legislation would survive them because none of it was “outside the law”.

The president, who has long criticised the agency for costing taxpayers too much and paying high salaries, said he will sign the new bill into law even though electoral authorities say it could weaken democracy in Mexico.

The bill was approved late on Wednesday by Mexico’s Senate in a 72-50 vote.

The new law would cut salaries and funding for local election offices and reduce training for citizens who operate and oversee polling stations. It would also lessen sanctions for candidates who fail to report campaign spending.

Mexico will hold its presidential election next year, but Mexican presidents are limited to a single, six-year term by the country’s constitution, so Lopez Obrador will not be running.

While Lopez Obrador was nonchalant about the court challenges, in the past he has frequently attacked Mexico’s judiciary and claimed that judges are part of a conservative conspiracy against his administration.

Elections in Mexico are expensive by international standards, in part because almost all legal campaign financing is, by law, supplied by the government.

The electoral institute also issues the secure voter ID cards that are the most commonly accepted form of identification in Mexico, and oversees balloting in remote and often dangerous corners of the country.

Protests are already planned against the reform in multiple cities in Mexico, encouraged by the electoral institute itself.

Federico Estevez, a retired political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, said the opposition’s claims that Lopez Obrador is “dismantling democracy” are exaggerated.

“It’s not about undoing democracy. It’s a different conception of democracy,” Estevez told the Associated Press news agency. “It’s more majoritarian, and less dependent on inadequate, unproductive and mistaken elites.”

Lopez Obrador remains highly popular in Mexico, with approval ratings of about 60 percent. Part of his popular appeal comes from railing against high-paid government bureaucrats, and he has been angered by the fact that some top electoral officials are paid more than the president.

Lopez Obrador proposed his legislative initiative, known as “Plan B”, in December after he did not obtain enough votes in Congress for even deeper electoral changes that would have altered the size and makeup of Congress.

The president has repeatedly denied that the reform package could put elections in Mexico at risk.

Lopez Obrador and his supporters have been critical of the electoral institute since 2006, when he lost the presidency by 0.56 percent of the vote. He denounced his defeat as fraudulent, and he and his supporters launched a mass protest movement in response.

“This is still driven by his grievances from those years,” Estevez noted.

Lopez Obrador later won the presidency by a wide margin in 2018.

Many in Mexico see the electoral institute as a key pillar of the country’s modern democracy since 2000.

Lopez Obrador’s ruling Morena party is favoured in next year’s national elections and the opposition is in disarray, which would seem to give the president little incentive to attack the electoral institute.

Lorenzo Cordova, the institute’s leader, has been a frequent target of Lopez Obrador and has aggressively defended the agency.

Before Wednesday’s vote, Cordova wrote on his Twitter account that the reforms “seek to cut thousands of people who work every day to guarantee trustworthy elections, something that will of course pose a risk for future elections”.

Related Articles

Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police