President López Obrador vowed today to sign a declaration that he will not seek another term in office after opposition lawmakers said that a constitutional change allowing for a referendum to cut short the six-year presidential term opened the door to his re-election.
The president said at his morning press conference that he will present a signed commitment on Monday declaring that he will not stand for re-election in 2024.
“I give my word and what I consider most important in my life is honesty but in any case, I’m going to make a public commitment,” López Obrador said.
The Chamber of Deputies yesterday approved a constitutional amendment that would allow voters to have their say on a president’s performance three years after taking office.
The vote would be held on the same date as mid-term congressional elections. López Obrador says that if citizens choose to revoke his mandate, he will resign.
Supported by lawmakers from the ruling Morena party and its coalition partners, the reform received the required support of two-thirds of members in the lower house. The reform will now be passed to the Senate for debate and another vote.
“It’s a trick,” said National Action Party (PAN) Deputy Marcos Aguilar Vega of the midterm vote.
“We must switch on all the warning signs because the examples are clear: revocation of mandate was proposed in Venezuela and that opened the door to the ambition of Hugo Chávez to perpetuate his power.”
PAN Deputy Xavier Azuara said “these changes will allow the executive [branch of government] an intense political campaign in a shameless way in 2021 just when this chamber and 13 governorships are renewed.” It’s a “path to re-election,” he added.
On Twitter, PAN national president Marko Cortés wrote: “Today Morena and the Mexican government begin their quest to perpetuate themselves in power. The National Action Party categorically rejects the terms in which the popular consultation and revocation of mandate proposals were presented . . .”
Politicians from other opposition parties also voted against and criticized the approval of the constitutional reform.
“The next step is re-election,” said Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Deputy María Alemán Muñoz Castillo, warning that Mexico could head down a path similar to that taken in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Citizens’ Movement lawmaker Alan Falomir charged that the reform is a political ploy designed to not only perpetuate López Obrador’s power but also to ensure that his Morena party is successful in the 2021 midterm elections.
“They need daddy AMLO” to campaign for the continuation of his rule in order to be swept to power by the tide of the president’s popularity, he contended.
López Obrador today acknowledged the criticism before reasserting his commitment to serve just one term.
“I heard the statements made by PAN lawmakers, saying that it [the revocation of mandate vote] is a rehearsal for re-election,” the president said before outlining details of what he intends to say in his public declaration.
“I will say that I am a supporter of democracy, that I agree with the [revolutionary and former president Francisco Madero’s] maxim of ‘effective suffrage, no re-election,’ that I am a maderista [adherent of Madero], that I’m not overambitious.”
Three and a half months after he was sworn in as president, López Obrador continues to enjoy strong public support, according to recent opinion polls.
A poll published earlier this month by the newspaper El Financiero showed that 78% of respondents approved of the president’s performance, while another published by El Universal this week to coincide with the completion of the government’s first 100 days in office gave an almost identical result.
Considering the survey results, there appears to be little chance that Mexicans would choose to remove López Obrador from the top job in a referendum on his rule.
In other business, lower house lawmakers also passed constitutional amendments that make it easier for the government to hold public consultations such as those held on the Mexico City airport project and a thermal power plant in Morelos.