Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Elections chief warns against efforts by government to exert control

National Electoral Institute (INE) president Lorenzo Córdova has warned National Action Party (PAN) lawmakers to be wary of any efforts by the government to exert pressure on the country’s electoral authorities.

Córdova attended a meeting of PAN deputies on Thursday and spoke of the possibility that the ruling Morena party will present an electoral reform during the upcoming sitting period of Congress.

A reform could be a good thing, but it must be aimed at improving Mexico’s party system and strengthening electoral institutions, legislatures and political institutes, he told the deputies, according to a statement issued by the INE.

“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,” Córdova said.

The INE chief — who claims that the INE is already under attack by the ruling government — also said there is a possibility that the government will seek to change funding rules for the nation’s electoral authorities under the pretext of austerity but with the real aim of generating “conditions of submission.”

INE President Lorenzo Cordova
Córdova raised concerns that the ruling government could try to change electoral funding rules under the pretext of austerity. INE

“It’s not a good idea for electoral authorities to have to ask for money from executive powers [the president or state governors], given that the budget is a mechanism of control. … When you depend in a budgetary sense on the generosity of a government, the autonomy of electoral bodies is placed at grave risk,” Córdova said.

He noted that previous electoral reforms have occurred in the lead-up to midterm elections rather than presidential elections.

Implementing a wide-ranging electoral form in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election — Mexico’s midterms were held last year — would be a risk, Córdova said.

He said last June that it was “unbelievable” that President López Obrador was proposing an electoral reform just three weeks after “impeccable” elections were held.

The two men have clashed on several occasions, most recently over the staging of López Obrador’s so-called “revocation of mandate” vote — a referendum on his leadership, which will be held in April.

The INE chief on Thursday called on PAN lawmakers to be guided by the logic of “improving what we have but not reinventing the electoral system.”

López Obrador on Friday was critical of Córdova’s participation in the PAN meeting, asserting that it was inappropriate for him to attend, given that the INE is supposed to be an “impartial authority.”

The conservative National Action Party is currently the main opposition party in terms of the number of seats it holds in Congress. Morena and its allies have a majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

Mexico News Daily 

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