October 3, 2023

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Thousands protest in opposition to electoral overhaul in Mexico

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Mexico’s Congress final week permitted a significant overhaul of the National Electoral Institute (INE), which Lopez Obrador has repeatedly attacked as corrupt and inefficient.

Mexico City,UPDATED: Feb 26, 2023 23:30 IST

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Reuters)

By Reuters: Thousands gathered in cities all through Mexico on Sunday to protest in opposition to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s drive to shrink the impartial electoral authority, arguing the adjustments threaten democracy – an accusation he vigorously denies.

Mexico’s Congress final week permitted a significant overhaul of the National Electoral Institute (INE), which Lopez Obrador has repeatedly attacked as corrupt and inefficient.

Critics of the laws, which is able to slash the INE’s funds and employees, are holding marches in Mexico City and different main cities because the contentious shake-up seems poised to go earlier than the Mexican Supreme Court.

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Veronica Echevarria, a 58-year-old psychologist from Mexico City collaborating within the protest, stated she was nervous Lopez Obrador’s overhaul of the INE was an try by him to take management of the electoral authority so he might keep in energy.

“We’re fighting to defend our democracy,” she stated, carrying a cap emblazoned with the phrases “Hands off the INE.”

She and 1000’s of others converged in direction of the Zocalo through town’s Paseo de la Reforma Boulevard on Sunday morning, a lot of them wearing pink, the colours of the INE.

Video footage on social media confirmed folks approaching the sq. holding banners saying ‘palms off my vote’.

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The INE and its predecessor performed a key position in making a pluralistic democracy that in 2000 ended many years of 1 social gathering rule, in accordance with many political analysts.

Fernando Belaunzaran, an opposition politician who helped to prepare the protests, stated the adjustments weakened the electoral system and elevated the chance of disputes clouding the 2024 elections when Lopez Obrador’s successor can be chosen.

“Normally presidents try to have governability and stability for their succession, but the president is creating uncertainty,” stated Belaunzaran. “He’s playing with fire.”

Belaunzaran stated in a tweet on Sunday there can be marches in additional than 100 cities.

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Mexican presidents might solely serve a single six-year time period.

Lopez Obrador, a 69-year-old leftist who contends he was robbed of the presidency twice earlier than he lastly romped to a crushing victory within the 2018 election, argues the INE is just too costly and biased in favor of his opponents.

The institute denies this.

According to the INE, the president’s overhaul violates the structure, curbs the institute’s independence and eliminates 1000’s of jobs devoted to safeguarding the electoral course of, making it more durable to carry free and honest elections.

Lopez Obrador has additionally weakened different autonomous our bodies that test his energy on the grounds that they’re a drain on the general public purse and hostile to his political venture. He says his INE shake-up will save $150 million a yr.

Last week he known as the INE “anti-democratic” and a instrument of the ruling elite, accusing it of fomenting electoral fraud.

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Polls present the president’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), which in only a few years has turn into the dominant drive in Mexico, is a robust favourite to win the 2024 election.

Critics of the INE overhaul argue Lopez Obrador just isn’t assured MORENA can retain energy with out interference within the electoral course of. He denies this.

Belaunzaran and his fellow demonstrators intention to fill Mexico City’s principal sq., which abuts the presidential palace, and holds political significance.

Over the years the Zocalo has hosted many rallies fronted by Lopez Obrador, each as president and through his lengthy profession as an opposition scourge of the Mexican institution.

Demonstrators hope Sunday’s protest will muster much more help than the tens of 1000’s who turned out in November to denounce Lopez Obrador’s earlier, unsuccessful bid to push by way of constitutional adjustments to reform the INE.

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Published On:

Feb 26, 2023