MEXICO CITY, Feb. 26 (AP) Tens of thousands of people gathered in Mexico City’s huge main square on Sunday to protest changes to electoral laws they say threaten democracy. The square is generally thought to hold nearly 100,000 people, but many more protesters were unable to accommodate it.
Marchers wore mostly white and pink – the colors of the country’s electoral body – and chanted slogans such as “Don’t touch my vote!”
Reforms proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador were passed last week. They will cut wages, funding for local election offices and training for citizens who operate and monitor polling places. They would also reduce sanctions for candidates who fail to report campaign spending.
Enrique Bastien, a 64-year-old veterinarian protester, recalled that in the 1970s and 1980s, when the PRI ruled Mexico with fraud and handouts, “he wanted to go back in time” when ” The government controlled the election.” “It’s a life without independence.”
Fernando Gutierrez, a 55-year-old small businessman, said López Obrador wanted to lead Mexico into a socialist government. “It’s clear from the aid to Cuba,” Gutierrez said.
López Obrador has imported coronavirus vaccines, medical personnel and stone railroad ballast from Cuba, but has no interest in socialist policies at home.
Many other demonstrators were wary of vote count miscounts, campaign overspending and electoral pressure tactics before the establishment of independent electoral bodies in the 1990s.
López Obrador dismissed such elitist criticism and said the institute spent too much money that should have been spent on the poor.
López Obrador said Thursday he would sign the changes into law, though he expected court challenges. Many in Sunday’s protests expressed hope that Mexico’s supreme court would overturn some of the reforms, as the court has done with other presidential initiatives.
Lorenzo Cordova, head of the electoral agency at the National Electoral Institute, said the reforms “are designed to eliminate thousands of people who work every day to ensure that elections are credible, which of course has consequences for future elections.” risk.”
López Obrador appeared indifferent to the court challenges, saying Thursday he was confident they would be upheld because they were not “illegal.”
However, he has frequently attacked Mexico’s judiciary in the past and has claimed judges are part of a conservative conspiracy against his government.
The president’s tough resistance to the judiciary, as well as regulatory and oversight agencies, has raised concerns that he is seeking to revive the old PRI practice, which twisted the rules to keep Mexico’s presidency for 70 years until it was in the U.S. lost in the election. 2000 election.
Elections in Mexico are expensive by international standards, in part because, by law, nearly all legal campaign funding is provided by the government. Election agencies also issue secure voter ID cards, the most widely accepted form of identification in Mexico, and monitor voting in remote and often dangerous corners of the country.
López Obrador remains popular in Mexico, with an approval rating of around 60%. While he won’t be able to run for re-election, his Morena party won a sweeping national election next year, throwing the opposition into disarray.
Part of his popular appeal came as an attack on well-paid government bureaucrats, angered by the fact that some top election officials are paid more than the president. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)