presidential referendum in Mexico becomes political football | Taiwan News

MEXICO CITY (AP) – A referendum allowing Mexicans to vote midterm on whether the president should stay in office has turned into bizarre political football involving all three branches of government.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador gleefully announced Monday that his supporters had collected 10 million signatures in favor of the referendum – several times more than legally required – which could put his future in jeopardy.

This is strange because there is little apparent reason to hold the referendum and the constitution does not require it. López Obrador gets positive ratings from around two-thirds of those polled and would undoubtedly win the vote to serve the second half of his six-year term.

But the president’s political style is one of constant campaigning: he campaigned non-stop from 2005 to 2018, and he’s taking advantage of it. He is therefore calling for a referendum, even though it will cost around $ 200 million and the election authorities say they do not have enough money.

The matter went to the Supreme Court, which ordered the National Electoral Institute to hold the April 10 referendum anyway.

And some members of Congress, dominated by the presidential Morena party, intervened by filing a criminal complaint essentially accusing election officials of blocking democracy.

With the signatures in hand, the President now considers the matter to be settled and appears to want the criminal complaint to go away.

“Let the people decide, be it the people,” said López Obrador. “Let’s end the complaints and the accusations and organize it already.”

The opposition National Action Party calls the referendum a “very costly and unconstitutional political play” and said the money would be better spent on creating jobs, reviving the pandemic economy and reducing poverty. poverty.

Patricio Morelos, professor at the Technological University of Monterrey, said López Obrador was eager to hold the vote because it was one of his campaign promises. It would also serve to energize its political base ahead of the presidential elections of 2022 and the presidential elections of 2024.

The National Electoral Institute wrote in a statement that the criminal complaint by members of Congress was an act of “intimidation and an attack on our autonomy.”

While the institute is independent and non-partisan, López Obrador has frequently accused its members of being “conservatives” opposed to his policies.

Janice J. Kostka