This is the largest mobilization against the power in place in nearly four years. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Mexico City on Sunday against an electoral reform bill by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The human tide submerged the central avenue of the Paseo de la Reforma to reject the project which threatens, according to its opponents, the independence of the National Electoral Institute (INE) in charge of organizing the elections since its creation in October 1990, found an AFP team. Other demonstrations took place in the country, in Toluca and Monterrey.
Among the demonstrators were former President Vicente Fox (2000-2006) and MP Santiago Creel (who held the rotating presidency of the Chamber of Deputies for a year), both members of the National Action Party (PAN, opposition of right).
In the crowd, Graciela Aberel, an English teacher, judges that the reform project is “very serious”. The current president “wants all elections to depend on the government again, so that he can manipulate them as he pleases and stay in power,” accused the 50-year-old.
Defense of Election Independence
Still very popular after almost four years in office, the left-wing president – elected in 2018 for a single six-year term – considers that the INE covered up fraud in the two previous elections of 2006 and 2012 which he had lost.
“I am not corrupt, classist, racist, hypocritical”, proclaimed a poster, referring to the adjectives that Lopez Obrador was able to use last week to disqualify the opponents of the reform who were about to demonstrate.
“It is not a question of being against the government of today, but against any government which today or tomorrow wants to take control of the elections”, declared to AFP Francisco Videla, a 50-year-old merchant who came with family and friends.
The reform envisages that the members of the board of directors of the INE be elected by popular vote, as well as a reduction in the subsidies allocated to political parties. The reform also plans to reduce the number of federal deputies from 500 to 300. The number of senators would increase from 128 to 96. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s party and his allies dominate both chambers.