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By KELIN DILLON

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, Mexico’s Supreme Court (SCJN) ordered the autonomous National Electoral Institute (INE) to follow through with its mandate revocation consultation as far as the confines of its predetermined annual budget will allow it, and similarly created a protective shield for the INE’s General Council members from any criminal responsibility administrative action surrounding the process.

The consultation process has been fraught with difficulties from the beginning, with plenty of public pushback from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) against the INE since the announcement of the referendum. The INE’s budget constraints forced it to cancel the vote, prompting a controversial investigation into the organization’s General Council, though the INE was later ordered to continue the consultation by the SCJN, regardless of funding issues.

In an attempt to acquire the necessary finances to carry out the vote properly, the INE asked the Mexican Treasury for the 1.7 billion pesos in funds its missing. However, this request was denied.

Now, the SCJN has reworked its previous judgment, providing further protection to INE officials and asking the organization to carry out the referendum to the best of its ability within its budget.

“The suspension decreed on Dec. 10, 2021, requested by the INE, is modified to carry out the mandate revocation procedure in the most efficient manner, as much as the budget that has been programmed so far allows, as well as so that a resolution on some type of criminal or administrative responsibility against the members of the General Council of said institute is not executed,” read the SCJN decision.

According to INE Electoral Consultant Claudia Zavala, the SCJN’s modified ruling marks positive progress forward for the mandate revocation consultation, though she said that many underlying issues in the process still remain to be resolved.

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