Mexico’s AMLO Attacks Electoral Institute Over Referendum Delay
(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the country’s electoral institute for postponing a referendum on his presidency over budget concerns.
It’s “lamentable” and “painful” that the recall vote is being delayed, Lopez Obrador said Monday during a daily press conference. He said the institute’s decision was unconstitutional and called on the electoral court to ensure that the vote on whether to remove the president is held by Apr. 10, before state and local elections on June 5. This feud comes as he has threatened to overhaul the electoral institute, arguing its leadership is partial to opposition groups.
The electoral body -- which is tasked with holding the country’s elections -- postponed the vote last week, despite an order by the Supreme Court to carry on. The institute claims that a delay is within its rights, and that it doesn’t have the funds to run a proper vote next year after its 2022 budget was slashed by the president’s sweeping austerity policies.
Lopez Obrador, who has advocated for referendums on other issues throughout his term, has said the vote will set an important precedent by enabling citizens to feel empowered to boot politicians out of office before the end of their terms. His critics say the leader is using the vote to activate his base ahead of the June elections, weakening the presidential system.
“We have a situation where the electoral body, which should promote democracy, has dedicated itself to blocking it,” Lopez Obrador said. Even if the institute can’t afford hundreds of thousands of voting booths, they should still move forward, he said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.