INE Head Ready to Take Budget Fight to Court
By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
After Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies on Sunday, Nov. 14, passed a 2022 Federal Expenditure Budget (PEF) that cut the National Electoral Institute’s (INE) annual budget by almost 5 billion pesos, INE President Lorenzo Córdova announced that the institution is prepared to take its case to court to defend its right to sufficient resources to fulfill its tasks.
The INE, which has been in the crosshairs of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) since he took office three years ago, has repeatedly reprimanded the president for violating electoral law and imposing his political will against constitutional rules.
Consequently, AMLO, has repeatedly cut the INE’s budget year-after-year — this time by more than a quarter of what the institute had requested for its basic operations in 2022 — by ordering Congress, which is dominated by his leftist National Regeneration Party (Morena), to pass his proposed expenditure plan “without even changing a comma.”
And despite protests from opposition parties and the INE itself, the Morena-dominated Congress did as AMLO decreed, ignoring increased needs for medicine, programs to defend women and financing to ensure democratic processes in order to heap on funding for the military and AMLO’s pet megaprojects.
“These budget cuts have the unfortunate consequence of making it impossible to continue expanding the political rights of Mexico’s citizens,” Córdova said on Twitter.
“In this case, the cut made by the majority parties in the Chamber of Deputies amounts to 4.913 billion pesos and is a reflection of a total misunderstanding of the arguments that INE advisers have raised, as well as a refusal by the parties that endorsed the cut to analyze the information that the INE has been willing to deliver and explain to legislators at all times.”
Córdova went on to say that the cut “puts at risk the organization of the mandate revocation process that, paradoxically, is being promoted by the same legislative majority that approved the expenditure budget for 2022.”
That proposed mandate was made by AMLO in an effort to prove his popularity among underprivileged Mexicans.
Córdova said that in the face of the budget cut, the INE General Council will take “the institutional decisions it deems appropriate and will promote the legal actions to which it is entitled within the framework of the Mexican Constitution and it laws” to protect the right of Mexican citizens to participate in the democratic process.
Córdova also pointed out that Congress cut the INE’s 2021 budget, despite the fact that in July it oversaw the largest electoral process in Mexico’s history and held the first popular consultation, which was also promoted by AMLO himself.
“None of the three powers of government have responded to the INE’s repeated requests for resources,” Córdova said, adding that the INE has no other recourse but to take legal action.
On Monday, Nov. 15, AMLO responded to Córdova during his daily press conference by mocking the INE and saying that if it needs money, it should cut the salaries of its members.