Referendum in Mexico: Lopez Obrador will remain president

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With a turnout of less than 20%, the Mexicans largely validated the continuation of his mandate.

ari won, against a background of abstention: the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will remain in power after a referendum on Sunday April 10 where the Mexicans largely validated the continuation of his mandate, but with a participation of less than 20%. More than 90% of voters wanted the nationalist leftist leader, 68, to go until the end of his single six-year term in 2024, according to initial estimates from the National Electoral Institute (INE).

The INE also announced a range of participation of 17-18.2% of the 93 million registered. The law provides for a threshold of 40% for the result of this type of referendum to bind the powers in place. In other words, even if the “Nope” had won, the president was not legally obliged to resign with a participation rate well below 40%.

The President’s Movement for National Regeneration (Morena) party hailed “a sharp result in favor of our president”. “People have recognized his commitment to those who need it most, the enormous moral authority with which he governs”said one of the leaders of Morena, Mario Delgado.

Three opposition parties had called for abstention (PAN, on the right, PRD on the left and the former state party of the PRI). The PAN evoked a marked popular consultation “by illegality, lies and embezzlement of public resources”. The PRI accused Morena of turning the referendum into a “joke”according to one of its managers on Twitter, Alejandro Moreno.

“We knew we were not going to revoke the mandate of the president and that the opponents were not going to vote”political analyst Hernán Gómez Bruera told AFP. “The issue was the mobilization capacity of Lopez Obrador and his supporters. We saw that this ability was strong”.

The Mexicans had to answer the following question: “Do you agree to revoke the mandate of the president for loss of confidence, or for him to continue as President of the Republic until the end of his term?” The president had himself enshrined in the Constitution in 2019 this “revocation mandate”on the model of other Latin American countries such as Venezuela.

“Let no one forget that it is the people who command”, he said, voting at the opening of some 57,000 polling stations in the country. AMLO – his initials, his nickname – slipped into the ballot box a ballot crossed out with the handwritten mention “Long live Zapata!”a hero of the Mexican Revolution (1910-17), noted the journalists.

Queues formed in some polling stations. “Why come today? Because I like the president, and since he asks me, here I am”, Carmen Sobrino, a 64-year-old housewife, told AFP. Mayra Marruenda, 29, thought she would abstain the day before the vote. “In truth, I believe he disappointed us all. I think it’s a game, a manipulation, and I don’t think I’m participating in it.”

Opponents suspect AMLO of wanting to rely on a plebiscite to consider re-election, a political taboo in Mexico since the “Porfiriato”: President Porfirio Diaz – a dictator for some historians – had remained in power for nearly 30 years from 1884 to 1911, before his exile and death in Paris.

The President has launched some major projects in the making between now and 2024. Parliament is currently examining in committee a reform of the electricity sector which aims to strengthen the public company CFE and reverse the liberalization of the sector in 2013. United States denounce a danger for their investors and wave the threat of “endless disputes” under the North American Free Trade Agreement. AMLO has also entrusted the army with the management of major construction sites such as a Maya tourist train, against which environmental defenders are increasing their legal action.

In three years, the AMLO government has considerably increased the minimum wage, while maintaining a policy of budgetary austerity in the midst of a pandemic which has killed nearly 325,000 people. Mexico was one of the only major countries to keep its borders open, without restrictions. Less than 8% of Mexicans had moved in August for a previous referendum on possible legal proceedings against several predecessors of the head of state.


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