A vote this week by the Baja California Congress to extend the mandate of the state’s governor-elect, Jaime Bonilla, from two to five years has been widely condemned.
The latest criticism came from National Electoral Institute (INE) councilor Pamela San Martín, who described the move as unconstitutional.
“It overrides jurisdictional decisions, and violates the election of June 2 when voters chose a governor for two years, not five.”
Bonilla, a member of the Morena party, was elected on June 2 of this year, and will take office on November 1.
A 2014 constitutional change mandated that the governor elected in 2019 would serve a two-year term, a change whose goal was to align the state’s gubernatorial elections with federal midterm elections, which take place three years after a presidential vote.
But on Monday, Congress passed legislation to extend Bonilla’s term to five years. Bonilla will serve as governor until 2024, meaning that the gubernatorial election will align with that for the president.
The bill was proposed by Morena Deputy Victor Manuel Morán Hernández, who argued that a two-year term for the governor would be too expensive. Of the 25 deputies in the state Congress, 21 voted in favor, including nine members of the National Action Party (PAN), which holds a plurality of 12 in the legislature.
Among those condemning the move was the leadership of the PAN, which announced that it will expel the nine deputies who supported the measure. Party president José Luis Ovando Patrón said the party had instructed its deputies not to show up for the scheduled vote, an instruction only two of the 12 deputies heeded.
“They didn’t just betray the PAN, they betrayed the hope of all Baja Californians,” he told a press conference. “They will be expelled immediately. There were clear instructions from the national and state leadership of the party not to allow this type of illegal modification to the law.”
Former presidential candidate and longtime leftist politician Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas also condemned the measure, writing on Twitter that the state Congress “has lost all legitimacy.”
The constitutional change became official on Wednesday morning, when it was approved by three of Baja California’s five municipalities.