Home » Is democracy in danger in Mexico? – DW – 02/20/2024

Is democracy in danger in Mexico? – DW – 02/20/2024

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Is democracy in danger in Mexico?  – DW – 02/20/2024

Thousands of Protesters in Mexico Demand “Free Vote” Ahead of Crucial Elections

Thousands of people gathered in the Zócalo of Mexico City last Sunday to protest against what they see as a threat to Mexico’s democracy. The rally, organized by various civil society groups and opposition leaders, sent a clear message to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) just two weeks before the start of presidential campaigns – “Our democracy is not touched.”

Former president of the National Electoral Institute (INE), Lorenzo Córdova, spoke at the rally, warning of a “project of authoritarian regression” by the current government, accusing it of subjecting other institutions to “permanent harassment.” The main demand of the protesters is the defense of the INE as the main entity in the country’s elections, amid fears that recent reform attempts aim to limit its autonomy.

While some observers believe that AMLO is leading an “authoritarian regression project,” others disagree. Khemvirg Puente, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), believes that AMLO is seeking to consolidate his movement as a hegemonic party, similar to the PRI, and reduce the power of opposition parties. However, Dr. Efren Chávez, academic at the UNAM Legal Research Institute, argues that the upcoming elections will decide the future path for Mexico and its democracy.

President López Obrador has had several confrontations with the INE since the beginning of his mandate in 2018, raising concerns about his intentions regarding the institution’s autonomy. Alejandra López, a professor at the Anahuac Mexico University, notes that AMLO has openly expressed his position on decentralized autonomous bodies, deeming them expensive and with few tangible results.

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The recent initiatives proposed by the government have caused controversy, particularly the plan to transform the INE into the INEC, with reduced councilors and limited scope. This move has sparked concerns about a potential regression for Mexican democracy.

Despite the accusations of “permanent harassment” and threats to autonomous institutions, some believe that the balance of powers in Mexico continues to exist, as demonstrated by the rejection of certain presidential initiatives.

As the country stands at a crucial moment in its political future, the protests in Mexico City serve as a reminder of the importance of fair and free elections for the preservation of democracy.

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