Mexicans decide this Sunday whether president López Obrador continues his term until 2024 | World

The Mexicans decide this Sunday (10) whether Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) leaves the presidency early or ends his term in 2024.

The so-called “citizen consultation” was created from a change in the Mexican Constitution, and the vote was called by the president himself, who is trying to broaden support for the rest of his term. This is the first recall referendum in the country’s history that anticipates a boost to the leftist leader.

Without a campaign environment, analysts find it difficult, however, for the consultation to reach the threshold of participation to be binding: 37 million voters (40% of those eligible to vote).

That fact alone would ratify the country’s first 68-year-old leftist ruler in office. In Mexico, with 126 million inhabitants, there is no mandatory vote.

“AMLO, you are not alone!”, say some of the few billboards displayed in Mexico City, alluding to the president by the initials of his name.

“You finish and go!” and “empty ballot boxes!”, opposition politicians and users who ask for abstention respond on their side on social media, claiming that the plebiscite is just an act of “propaganda”.

  • Why did the president of Mexico ask for a popular consultation that could remove him from power?

President López Obrador with his wife on polling day this Sunday (10) – Photo: Alfredo Estrella / AFP

The referendum was incorporated into the Constitution in 2019 at the initiative of the president, who was elected for six years. The signatures to summon him were mostly from official supporters.

With an approval of 58%, according to a consolidated survey by the firm Oraculus, the president argues that the referendum is the remedy against bad governments

“Now we have the opportunity to change what is not right. There were presidents who, after being elected by the people, ended up serving other interests,” Benigno Gasca, a 57-year-old mathematician and musician, told AFP.

Public consultation will decide whether the president of Mexico remains in power – Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

But Laura González, a 62-year-old retired teacher, believes “it’s a useless exercise, money wasted.”

“If it was your people who organized the consultation, let them go,” he told AFP.

President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a press conference on March 21, 2022 — Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP Photo

Electoral consultancy Integralia estimates an average turnout of 14.8% of voters. “A resounding majority is expected in favor of Lopez Obrador staying in office until 2024,” the report says.

AMLO accuses the National Electoral Institute (INE) of sabotaging the referendum in complicity with “the conservatives” (as the opposition calls it), for which it announced a reform so that its members and those of the electoral court are elected by popular vote and not by the Chamber of Deputies.

The INE, which has unsuccessfully demanded a larger budget, will install around 57,500 polling stations against the 161,000 in a federal election.

With no greater risk of having to leave power, the president could take advantage of the plebiscite to air some projects and “pull the machinery” of the ruling Morena party towards the 2024 presidential elections, estimates political analyst Martha Anaya.

“It will be a parameter to evaluate the mobilization capacity” of the ruling party, highlights Integralia

In the country there is no presidential re-election or extension of term, and in any case, AMLO has said he will retire from politics in 2024.

In the nearly three years remaining in his tenure, his “transformation” project has several challenges, such as implementing a reform to the electricity sector approved by the Supreme Court of Justice this week, against the wishes of the United States, Canada and Spain, and opposition parties PRI, PAN and PRD.

The new framework, which AMLO hopes to reinforce with a constitutional reform, gives greater weight to the State in energy generation, to the detriment of the private sector.

Some of the stakes are rising, as the ruling coalition – the main force in Congress – does not, however, garner enough votes to amend the Constitution and is forced to negotiate.

López Obrador bases his acceptance on social programs to which he allocates US$23 billion this year (6.4% of the budget) and policies such as improving the minimum wage (US$265 per month).

“You live a little better despite the pandemic. There have been advances, especially in the social field, and corruption has decreased a lot,” says Herlinda Escamilla, a 75-year-old antique dealer who benefits from a subsidy for the elderly.

Among the challenges facing the president are persistent criminal violence, which has left some 340,000 dead since 2006, and an economy hit by Covid-19, which collapsed 8.4% in 2020, recovered 5% in 2021 and this year. would just grow. 3.4%.

Annualized inflation is at its highest level in two decades (7.3% in February). INE is expected to release the results at night.

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