Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Presidential prosecution referendum estimated to cost 8 billion pesos

President López Obrador’s plan to ask citizens to vote on whether they believe recent ex-presidents of Mexico should face prosecution for crimes allegedly committed while in office will cost more than 8 billion pesos (US $370 million), says Uuc-kib Espadas of the National Electoral Institute. 

Espadas estimated that the referendum will cost the same as a federal election. It would probably take place August 1 next year, just under two months after the midterm elections, and would require “a significant effort on the part of the institute in technical terms, budgets and human resources.”

The consultation got the green light this week from the Supreme Court in a controversial ruling that pronounced the referendum constitutional.

For José Antonio Crespo, a political analyst and historian, the consultation is “absurd” and unnecessary. 

“It is a consultation regarding the whole past, all the political actors, all the decisions, it does not set limits, it does not say from where and until when, it does not say anything about Mexico beyond what we know. And it’s going to cost 8 billion pesos … It’s absurd,” said Crespo. “This money would be more useful for children with cancer, for vaccines, and they will spend it on a survey for which we already know the result: 90% [of people] want previous crimes to be reviewed.”

Former president Felipe Calderón, who along with Carlos Salinas, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox and Enrique Peña Nieto could be investigated should a majority of citizens support the initiative, has said the president is confusing Mexico with a “Roman Circus,” and called the consultation “a regression of thousands of years in terms of justice.”

“If he has well-founded proof against me, he should go to the attorney general today and present it without the need for a consultation. But if he doesn’t have proof or specific accusations, … he should stop harassing me and respect my rights like any other citizen,” Calderón said.

Many critics have said the purpose of the vote is political and has little to do with justice. Next year’s midterm elections will be critical for the Morena party, which currently has a majority in both houses of Congress.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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