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Election institute chief Lorenzo Córdova. Election institute chief Lorenzo Córdova. INE

With budget cuts, government seeks to undermine elections agency: Córdova

Dwindling resources put the institute's capacity to defend democracy at risk, says agency chief

The federal government is seeking to undermine the autonomy of the National Electoral Institute (INE) by cutting its budget, the organization’s president asserted Thursday.

Addressing the online Global Elections Day Summit 2022, organized by the Association of European Election Officials, Lorenzo Córdova said Mexico is currently going through a period of intolerance toward the electoral authority, whose budget for 2022 was slashed by almost 5 billion pesos (US $241.6 million).

President López Obrador is an outspoken critic of the INE, and has indicated that he will submit a bill to Congress to overhaul it.

Córdova, who has charged that the INE is facing unprecedented hostility, told the summit that a reduction in its funding places the institute’s capacity to defend democracy at risk.

“… These unusual budget cuts … in many cases compromise the technical capacities and responsibilities of electoral authorities,” he said.

Córdova speaking at the Global Elections Day Summit 2022, an online event.
Córdova speaking at the Global Elections Day Summit 2022, an online event. Screenshot

“Added to that are electoral reforms that seek to increase controls over autonomous and independent authorities,” Córdova said, offering an assessment of the situation in Mexico and other countries where he believes electoral organizations are under attack.

“… It’s particularly disturbing that these attacks … even threaten the personal safety of public officials in charge of electoral institutions, as is happening in Peru, and also in Mexico,” the INE chief said.

Córdova – who has clashed with López Obrador on several occasions – noted that the attacks in some countries on electoral authorities are ironically perpetrated by “those who won [elections] and benefited from electoral processes.”

Despite the apparent animosity from AMLO, as the president is best known, and the budget cuts it has suffered, the INE is still fulfilling its mandate, he said.

“We’re committed to democracy and we’ll continue working hard to carry out free, fair, competitive and impartial elections, organized with all the professionalism that characterizes us in Mexico,” Córdova said.

His remarks came a week after he warned National Action Party (PAN) lawmakers to be wary of any efforts by the government to exert pressure on the country’s electoral authorities.

“Be careful with a reform that, under the pretext of rescuing the autonomy of electoral authorities, includes greater political controls, given that via these controls pressure could be exerted on [state and federal] electoral authorities,” he said at a meeting of PAN deputies.

With reports from Infobae

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