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Apr 6, 2023

Roberto Diaz  (Twitter @dieresis_u & @RRomanen) reports on the problematic democratic transition in Mexico and the problems with the Electoral Institute (National Electoral Institute) that has polarized the Mexican citizens. As well the reformations from the executive power: the “Electoral Reform'' and the “B Plan”.


Recorded 2023-03-18. Duration 16:48

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Mexico City: March 18, 2023.

Roberto Diaz  (Twitter @dieresis_u & @RRomanen) reports on the problematic democratic transition in Mexico and the problems with the Electoral Institute (National Electoral Institute) that has polarized the Mexican citizens. As well the reformations from the executive power: the “Electoral Reform'' and the “B Plan”.


Recorded 2023-03-18. Duration 16:48

Listen or Direct download


Send listener feedback 

Mexico City: March 18, 2023.

In Mexico only two autonomous electoral organizations exist that are authorized to validate elections in Mexico. The first one, the INE, The instituto Nacional Electoral, which takes care of logistics at the state and federal level for vote counting, and production of voting identification cards which also work as an ID card. The second one, is the Federation Judicial Power of the Electoral Court. The first one, takes care of the logistics and the second validates or impugn the INEs decisions.

IN 2014, the Electoral Federal Institute (IFE) after a reformation of the constitutional 41 article in which the two different standards of federal and local election institutes were homologated, the National Electoral Institute was born. This institute finally marked a major autonomy from the power in turn.

At the dawn of the upcoming resolution of the judicial power for the "B plan" of the Electoral reformation, to the secondary laws of the "National Electoral Institute" (INE). The autonomous institution of the federal government which is in charge of the logistics, vote counting and verification of electoral results in the country.  Nonetheless, this odyssey for the reformation of the electoral system is still not easy.

This institution was under the presidency of Lorenzo Cordova, a professor and researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM. —the 14 years of Cordova's administration as the former IFE president and then INE's one, weren't easy. —His presidency suffered the backlash of Lorenzo's racist remarks against the Mexican indigenous organizations, which tainted the image of his presidency.

The 2018 presidential election complicated the situation as the government plan of president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), sketched in this presidency “National Plan of Development '', foresaw a profound reformation of the electoral institution in his fifth year of government. His reasons were diverse, from a partiality of the INE counselors that stole elections in the country, and therefore lost the credibility to diverse sectors of the Mexican population, the high salaries for their workers and the opacity into their accounts. Made it mistrustful for the AMLO's administration. Especially after the "Austerity policy" was ratified in the congress. With a general salary to cut political parties, and public workers. These measures weren't accepted by the INE and the institution remained keeping the same level of expenses that inevitably were going to crush the federal budget for the upcoming year.

The second scandal that took the spotlight was in 2019, the close relationship of Cordova with former president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. —Famously known for starting the war on drugs, and who had quit, a year prior, the Center-Right party "Accion Nacional" party (PAN) —At the time, he was looking for a ratification of his new political party "Mexico Libre". In the month of November, a journalist spotted him dining with Lorenzo Cordova, and from that moment, the INE's president was labeled as "one-sided" —Mexico Libre didn't get its registration later that year. —Unfortunately for Cordova, this was a difficult label to remove.

In 2021, the governor elections in 15 federal states, 4 candidates of the MORENA party —AMLO's left political party — in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán and San Luis Potosi, were taken down from these elections, for supposedly campaign expenses that weren't reported in the budget.  —Some of them to the amount of 15,000 pesos or 800 USD. —The one sided decisions the INE counselors took, apparently ignoring MORENA supporters' allegations against the Mexican opposition candidates in 2021, filled the idea of a "one-sided" narrative of the electoral institution. And even after the results were ratified and MORENA victories were accepted. The transcendental event of the incorporation of the referendum figure, only showed the negligence of the counselors and organizers inside the electoral institution.

The two referendum celebrated in 2021 and 2022 were the first ones to be organized by the INE, the first one named "Political Trail to former presidents''; the first referendum celebrated in Mexican history, the advertisement of this transcendental event in Mexican democracy, was a direct responsibility of the INE, prohibiting any external person or organization to generate some kind of propaganda. Unfortunately, the lack of authorized publicity, the problems of low budget and the stubborn choice of not reducing the expenses inside the organization, resulted in a failure of the first Mexican referendum.

The second referendum celebrated in 2022, "Presidential Mandate Revocation", this time, even when the advertisement was going to be generated by the INE, the political parties and organizations entered in a propagandistic war, some against, some in favor of this referendum. For the INE, this referendum represented a challenge, the budget reduction of 2022, materialized in a reduction of voting booths, and resulted in a logistic failure.

That same year by instructions of the Electoral Court, the INE started a persecution of social media users under allegations of "Political gender violence" —Civilians that had insulted PRI's deputy Paloma Sanchez, were sanctioned with a bill" and with that, the first attack to freedom of speech began from outside the government.

At the same time, a series of legal processes of the PRD female deputies —Center Left political party allied with the PAN —against a group of MORENA male and female deputies for "Political gender violence" were approved by the Electoral Court. —One case that took the spotlight was the one against Andrea Chavez, feminist federal deputy of MORENA party, for a supposedly a prejudicial tweet of 2021, although the content of said tweet wasn't enough motive to classified as "gender violence" the first verdict was favorable for the PRD deputy, although after the public backlash, the court rectified its decision.

During the second part of 2022, the political landscape was divided by a propagandistic war against Alejandro Moreno Cardenas (The PRI party president) —This campaign was in charge of the new Campeche governess, Layda Sansores. She managed to hack Moreno's cellphone and leaked its content in a series of TV show segments, realized on a weekly basis, known as "Jaguar's Tuesday". The program showed a series of messages about private interactions of Moreno with Lorenzo Cordova. —Some of them gave evidence of PRI deputies support in INE's defense budget and in response, Cordova was supposed to accept Moreno's financial secretary inside the INE. — Lorenzo Cordova then, accepted that these conversations were legitimate.

At the end of 2022, the INE tried to hide a public poll in which the results showed that 60% of the Mexican citizens wanted a reformation of the Electoral Institute. Nonetheless, the spotlight was taken by the populous march of November, in which the Mexican opposition and their sympathizers took the streets around the Independence Angel Monument, to the Revolution Monument, under the motto. "I defend the INE" from the upcoming Electoral Reformation. Although some fantastic numbers had a participation of 800 thousand protesters, more realistic estimates place them with 70 thousand participants.

In 2023, the Electoral Reformation was voted and without a qualified majority, Morena couldn't pass this initiative. —Some of the most controversial points inside this initiative, were the INE's transformation with the responsibility of adding public consults or referendums into their electoral chores, the representatives and counselors were going to be elected by popular vote. The reduction of plurinominal deputies. —Nonetheless, the backup plan to modify the INE was already drafted and ready to be voted on. The "B Plan" was a reformation of the Electoral secondary laws in the constitution. For a minor reformation MORENA only needed its simple majority.

The B Plan contemplates the elimination of plurinominal deputies, the reduction of 500 federal deputies to 300 deputies, the possibility for citizens to pick their own counselors and magistrates in the Electoral Court and the INE. (As right now, the only method is a knowledge exam).

Using a misinformation campaign, the Mexican political opposition organization called "UNIDOS", together with other 50 Nonprofit Organizations, once again took the streets of Mexico City, this time gathering around 100 thousand people that marched to the Zocalo Plaza. This event was celebrated in the midst of a discussion for an unconstitutional controversy" in the Supreme Court, the judges are analyzing the B Plan, point by point.

Finally, the upcoming exit of the President counselor, Lorenzo Cordova, who is leaving the INE's presidency this year, the destitution of the executive secretary of the INE: Jacobo Molina, because the B Plan internal reforming, polarized the Mexican society, for one week, Jacobo Molina left the electoral institute, then he was rejoined by an order of the Supreme Court. This event could foresee a troubled scenario to the B Plan acceptance and favorable resolution in the supreme court.

More Resources:

Historia del Instituto Federal Electoral

the "B plan" of the Electoral reformation

Audioescándalo en el INE: Lorenzo Córdova se mofa de indígenas

INE retira candidatura a Salgado Macedonio y a 60 candidatos de Morena

Putting Justice to a Vote? Q&A on Mexico’s August 1 Referendum

TEPJF multó a 15 tuiteros por violencia política de género; sancionados acusan censura

Senado aprueba Plan B de Reforma Electoral, desechan cláusula de vida eterna

Más de 100.000 personas protestan en México contra las modificaciones al INE

Tribunal federal ordena restituir a Edmundo Jacobo en el INE

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