News Latin America The opposition fills the Zocalo to protest against the electoral reform of...

The opposition fills the Zocalo to protest against the electoral reform of Lopez Obrador

Thousands of Mexicans filled the Zocalo in Mexico City this Sunday to protest against the electoral reform of the Government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. From end to end, one of the largest public squares in Latin America hosted civil society organizations and opposition politicians who decided to challenge the president before the changes to the electoral laws, provided for in the so-called “plan B” and that limit the functions of the National Electoral Institute (INE), the independent body that organizes elections in Mexico. This has been the second opposition rally in less than five months that calls for the electoral reform to be stopped. Previously, the protesters requested the attention of Congress, now —and after the approval of the legislative package this week— they target the 11 ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN).

The message of the demonstration focused precisely on the weight of the Constitution. Retired minister Jose Ramon Cossio went up to the temple, located in front of the Supreme Court, who spoke of the Magna Carta as the greatest argument to defend democracy. “Those of us who are here have not only wanted to fill the Zocalo. We come to occupy, respectfully and temporarily, the Plaza de la Constitucion, ”he said as he took the microphone. The modifications to the electoral laws, once they have already passed through the Legislative power, will face a detailed analysis in the Court after the opposition parties presented actions of unconstitutionality against “Plan B”. Cossio has defended the Supreme Court ministers, whom President Lopez Obrador has harshly criticized, and has pointed out the important role they will play in the future of Mexico’s democracy. “[En la Constitucion] there are the checks and balances for those who temporarily occupy the Government”, he mentioned.

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The Zocalo is the public square in Mexico where more people can gather in the capital and it is also a representative site that has marked milestones throughout the contemporary history of the North American country. Images with thousands of people dressed in pink have flooded social networks and the organizers have been satisfied with the high presence of protesters in this call. The streets surrounding the square filled up quickly from early in the morning. This has been the largest concentration of the opposition since the Lopez Obrador government began in 2018, despite the fact that its political parties are experiencing their lowest hours. The president continually boasts of having a massive attendance every time he calls a rally in the Zocalo, which is why he has also organized a rally for next March 18 in the same place in support of his Government and with the commemoration of the 85th anniversary of oil expropriation as a backdrop.

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Demonstrators raise banners and wave national flags, during the congregation this Sunday in the capital’s Zocalo.LUIS CORTES (REUTERS)

The “plan B” of the electoral reform was definitively approved last Wednesday in the Senate and is only pending its promulgation. The changes in the secondary laws limit the role of the INE starting with a reduction of 300 district boards in the 32 states of the country. Morena, the government party, argues that the changes to the laws will achieve savings of 3,500 million pesos. Opponents point out that this will happen with the thinning of the institution that organizes the elections, which opens the door to less reliable electoral processes and puts democracy at risk. The reform also relaxes the rules for the use of political propaganda among public officials, a measure that may tip the balance in favor of those who are holding public office and have access to budgets.

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The concentration lasted just over an hour and closed with the singing of the National Anthem. The organizers asked the attendees to resist under the sun to leave a powerful image of the concentration. “[Los ministros de la Corte] They will show that the expressions of the president and his collaborators are not true,” said Cossio in his speech. Some attendees left dozens of bouquets of pink flowers at the doors of the Supreme Court. The turn to decide the electoral future of Mexico is now the 11 ministers with an office on Pino Suarez street.



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