Mexico City and some states and municipalities are set to impose a temporary dry law (known in Mexico as la ley seca) on the weekend to encourage a high turnout for Sunday’s nationwide referendum on whether President López Obrador should remain in office.
The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, said no alcohol can be sold in stores in the capital on Saturday afternoon or Sunday but that restaurants would not be affected.
Sheinbaum also called on the public to participate in the vote. “From my perspective, there is a lot of enthusiasm, so I’m calling for the participation of citizens,” she said.
Municipal authorities in León, Guanajuato, and Totolac and Tlaxcala city — the last two located in the state of Tlaxcala — confirmed that there would be a dry law in place from some time on Saturday until late on Sunday.
In the state of Nuevo León, many stores that sell alcohol have put up announcements warning clients about the dry law, and event organizers have announced postponements, despite no official announcement by state or municipal authorities.
The governor of Morelos said a decision on imposing the temporary dry law in the state would be made on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the governor of Coahuila and state authorities in Oaxaca said they would wait for an indication from federal authorities as to whether the alcohol sales prohibition should be enforced. State authorities in Yucatán, Chiapas and Baja California Sur were undecided on Wednesday.
In Chihuahua and Sinaloa, state authorities announced that the dry law would not apply.
A voter turnout of 40% is needed to make the result of the referendum binding. However, the president has repeatedly said that even if turnout falls short of 40%, he will still respect the results, meaning that he will leave office if more people vote for that outcome.
López Obrador has also consistently railed against the National Electoral Institute (INE) for not promoting the upcoming vote to his satisfaction and has frequently overlooked the rule of electoral silence which bans any form of campaigning in the buildup to elections or other votes.
Opposition parties have called on the public to abstain from voting. The president said in his morning news conference on Monday that he was confused by the strategy.
Social media users are already expressing displeasure with the upcoming weekend without alcohol sales in parts of Mexico.
Chinga tu madre ley seca del sábado. pic.twitter.com/p2j8fjOmev
— Pablito alimaña (@Pabscorrea) April 5, 2022
“If they don’t want me, why don’t they vote against [me]?” he said.
The president added on Monday that participatory democracy was the model he aspired to as a leader. “A good democrat is one who wants to establish democracy as a way of life … who makes democracy a habit,” he said.