Mexico approves changes to electoral oversight, drawing criticism


MEXICO CITY — Mexican lawmakers on Wednesday authorized a controversial overhaul of the physique overseeing the nation’s elections, a transfer critics warn will weaken democracy forward of a presidential vote subsequent 12 months.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador argues the reorganization will save $150 million a 12 months and scale back the affect of financial pursuits in politics.

However opposition lawmakers and civil society teams have stated they are going to problem the changes on the Supreme Court docket, arguing they’re unconstitutional. Protests are deliberate in a number of cities on Sunday.

The Senate authorized the reform, which nonetheless wants to be signed into legislation by Lopez Obrador, 72 to 50.

The changes will reduce the funds of the Nationwide Electoral Institute (INE), cull workers and shut places of work.

Members of National Electoral Institute of Mexico during a session in Mexico City
Members of Nationwide Electoral Institute of Mexico throughout a session in Mexico Metropolis, on Jan. 25, 2023Luis Barron / AP file

The INE has performed an essential position within the shift to multi-party democracy since Mexico left federal one-party rule in 2000. Critics concern a few of that progress is being misplaced, in a sample of eroding electoral confidence additionally seen in america and Brazil.

Lopez Obrador has repeatedly attacked the electoral company, saying voter fraud robbed him of victory within the 2006 presidential election.

The top of the INE, Lorenzo Cordova, has known as the changes a “democratic setback” that put in danger “sure, reliable and clear” elections. Proposed “brutal cuts” in personnel would hinder the set up of polling stations and vote counting, Cordova stated.

The changes, dubbed “Plan B,” comply with a extra formidable constitutional overhaul final 12 months that fell in need of the wanted two-thirds majority. That invoice had sought to convert the INE right into a smaller physique of elected officers.

Mexico will maintain two state elections in June and common elections subsequent 12 months, together with votes for president and elected officers in 30 states.

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