Thursday, September 16

Minimal participation in the populist referendum in Mexico to judge former presidents

Correspondent in Mexico City



The first national popular consultation in Mexico only achieves 8%, far from the necessary 40% so that it would have been binding what would have meant that 37.5 million Mexicans had gone to the polls. The expectation never conferred a high participation that was verified with the empty schools throughout the electoral day. The publicity of the consultation was conspicuous by its absence, beyond the comments of López Obrador, launched from his Mañanera. 90% vote with a ‘yes’ for what they agreed to judge crimes of the past. Morena, the presidential party, announced as a triumph the mere fact of the only controversial question that made up the vote.

The extensive issue faced by the Mexican people on Sunday, August 1, is extensive, but underlying its message is a parallel trial of former presidents Carlos Salinas (1988-1994), Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000), Vicente Fox ( 2000-2006), Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña (2012-2018): «Do you agree or not that the pertinent actions be carried out in accordance with the constitutional and legal framework, to undertake a process of clarification of the political decisions taken in the past years by political actors, aimed at guaranteeing justice and the rights of possible victims? ». Already before the consultation abstention was predicted to be very high Despite the fact that for the answer with a yes or no to the question, formulated by the Government, 93.5 million ballots were printed by the National Electoral Institute.

The first time that the popular consultation resource was used, registered in the Mexican Constitution, it gave citizens the possibility of expressing their opinion on the opening of criminal proceedings against political actors of the past. In case it had gotten through would directly affect the aforementioned former presidents in power before 2018, just the year when López Obrador came to power. AMLO took over with an overwhelming majority that included 53% of the votes, 30 points more than his opponents Ricardo Anaya and José Antonio Meade.

Perhaps the president wanted to imitate the Swiss processes, where the popular initiative is a civil right, but in the case of the Alpine country it is promoted by the citizens, not like the vote we are dealing with in Mexico, which has been sponsored by López Obrador himself. The details or defects of the question are evident since it leaves the people the option to judge a political trajectory that should fall on justice. In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Government should be the ones to promote the justice that with this election is left in the hands of the electorate.

The approach becomes curious considering the two main problems of Mexico: impunity and insecurity, as confirmed by Michel Forst, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, on a visit to the Aztec country in 2017. Political corruption is more difficult to account for so it is usually measured with citizen surveys and the opinion of experts. According to a Deloitte study, 88.8% of the Mexican people feel that it occurs frequently. As stated in Expansión, Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizen Observatory, AMLO uses the issue daily in his appearances, calling corruption “a main factor that inhibited the social and cultural development of Mexico, but the first 31 months of the Administration Obrador has not translated into forceful actions and facts “to reduce it.

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