Blocked for the moment by the refusal of the National Electoral Institute (INE), Andrés Manuel López Obrador opened the door on Tuesday for the consultation for the revocation of the mandate to be organized informally by the citizens. A model that already has precedents. During the first acts of his government, he promoted a handful of controversial popular consultations held outside the electoral body on topics as diverse as the construction of two trains, a refinery, the viability of 10 social programs or the reversal of a new airport. “Democracy is made by the people, not by the administrative apparatus. It is up to the INE to do so by constitutional mandate, but if they refused, citizens could make the consultation, “said the president during the daily morning conference.
The INE decided last Friday to postpone the call for the April 10 consultation alleging lack of resources after the cut of more than 2,300 million pesos given by Congress to the last budget of the organism. The referendum, scheduled for April 10, is the president’s great asset facing the final stretch of the mandate and the blockade has raised tension against the INE, one of López Obrador’s favorite targets in his crusade against the institutions that considered part of a kind of old regime.
Apart from the political fray, the decision of the body, which leaves the date of the referendum in the air, has already precipitated a challenge by Morena before the Electoral Court. In addition to slipping the possibility of holding a popular consultation, the president has also mentioned that the ball is in the courthouse. “We have to wait and see what the Electoral Tribunal decides and then the Judicial Power. I think the INE will carry out the consultation. I think this appeal for revocation is going to be applied, they are delaying practices, not very serious ”.
Plebiscites have been one of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s favorite tools. “We are going to ask the Mexicans,” the president has repeated since the beginning of his term. The informal consultations, convened without any guarantee, resulted in very low participation and no legal effect. The only referendum so far organized within the legal framework, held on August 1 on the possible investigation of former Mexican presidents, also did not reach the necessary quorum to make it binding.
The postponement by the INE does not in any case close the door definitively to the consultation, whose call is currently in the signature collection phase. The president of the INE has slipped that if the Chamber rectifies the budget assigned to the body by 2,000 million pesos, the consultation could be carried out. Morena’s environment has already begun collecting signatures. The first objective is to achieve the 1.8 million signatures necessary for the consultation to enter through the citizenry. An extreme that in the antecedent of August was soon discarded and it was the president who took the initiative and took the process to the Senate himself.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.