By Fabiola Sanchez | Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — Tens of 1000’s of individuals packed the Mexican capital’s principal boulevard Sunday to protest President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s proposal to overhaul the country’s electoral authority in the biggest demonstration against one in every of the president’s efforts during his nearly 4 years in office.
The huge turnout was a robust rebuke of the president’s assertion that criticism comes only from a comparatively small, elite opposition.
Opposition parties and civil society organizations had called on Mexicans to reveal within the capital and other cities against proposed electoral reforms that will remake the National Electoral Institute, one in every of the country’s most prized and trusted institutions.
López Obrador sees the institute as beholden to the elite, but critics say his reforms would threaten its independence and make it more political. The initiative includes eliminating state-level electoral offices, cutting public financing of political parties and allowing the general public to elect members of the electoral authority relatively than the lower chamber of Congress.
It could also reduce the variety of legislators within the lower chamber of Congress from 500 to 300 and senators from 128 to 96 by eliminating at-large lawmakers. Those aren’t directly elected by voters, but appear on party lists and get seats based on their party’s proportion of the vote.
The proposal is predicted to be discussed in Mexico’s Congress in coming weeks, where the president’s Morena party and allies hold a bonus.
“I’m already fed up with Andrés Manuel, with so many lies, a lot crime,” said Alejandra Galán, a 45-year-old manager, as she raised a Mexican flag in the course of the multitude. “He desires to take the (electoral institute) from us in order that eventually it’s like Venezuela, Cuba, but we’re not going to let him.”
Jorge González said such comparisons to authoritarian regimes could seem exaggerated at this point, but “I feel it’s only a step away. We have now to have a transparent separation of powers, independent institutions and particularly the National Electoral Institute.”
The 49-year-old, who works within the finance sector, noted the seven many years of uninterrupted rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which was finally ousted in 2000. “The fear isn’t having an independent civic institution, where we are able to really trust within the elections and (as an alternative) going back to a way with an institute where it’s run by a single party.”
Fernando Belaunzarán, one in every of the promoters of the protest, said 200,000 people participated within the march. Authorities didn’t confirm this figure.
López Obrador has spent many years battling electoral authorities. He considers himself a victim of electoral fraud on multiple occasions, though it was the National Electoral Institute that confirmed his landslide presidential victory in 2018.
Organizers have said the march isn’t against López Obrador, but to attract attention to the proposal and to induce lawmakers to vote against it.
López Obrador’s party doesn’t have enough votes to pass the constitutional reform without support from the opposition.
Last week, López Obrador dedicated a great a part of his every day morning press conferences to dismissing the promoters of the demonstration, calling them “cretins” and “corrupt,” aiming to trick the people. He defended the proposal as looking for to scale back the electoral authority’s budget and avoiding “electoral fraud.”
While agreeing that some cost savings could possibly be desirable, some analysts worry eliminating the state electoral offices would concentrate power an excessive amount of on the federal level and sacrifice efficiency.
Choosing members of the Electoral Court and leadership of the institute by popular vote would give the parties more power to choose candidates. The proposal would also reduce members of the institute’s council from 11 to seven.
Patricio Morelos of Monterrey Technological University identified that with López Obrador having fun with high popularity and his party controlling nearly all of Mexico’s 32 state governments, they might have a bonus if the electoral authority is remade and would likely exert control.
Protester Giovanni Rodrigo, a 44-year-old salaried employee, said López Obrador doesn’t wish to let go of power, if it’s not himself within the presidency, he wants to choose who.
“I think no doubt he’s the perfect politician that exists today in modern history and that’s why he’s the owner of a celebration” that controls nearly all of Mexican states, he said. “It hasn’t been enough. He wants an increasing number of.”
AP author Mark Stevenson contributed to this report.