Mexico’s Revocation of Mandate Referendum

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For those who have not been following the upcoming Revocation of Mandate Referendum — one of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) key initiatives, allegedly intended to allow the Mexican people to vote to end his six-year term early, but claimed by critics to set a precedence for the extension of his term in office, due to end in November 2024 — here are some simple facts about the vote:

This first-ever presidential recall referendum will take place on Sunday, April 10.

All adult registered Mexican voters are eligible to participate, about 94.6 million people.

The polls will be open nationwide from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Preliminary results are expected to be announced by 10 p.m. Sunday, April 10, with definite results set to be announced on Tuesday, April 12.

The cost of the referendum, which is being supervised and paid for by the National Electoral Institute (INE) is about 1.693 billion pesos.

For the referendum results to be binding, at least 40 percent of eligible voters must participate.

López Obrador has sworn publicly that, should the majority of people vote for his recall (which is highly unlikely, given his massive popularity), he will step down from office.

However, the opposition has criticized the referendum as a political maneuver aimed at best to flaunt AMLO’s record-high presidential approval ratings and at worst to justify an unconstitutional extension of his tenure.

Consequently, many opposition voices have argued that participating in the referendum would be paramount to legitimizing and propagating a political charade.

Some critics and scholars have also called into question the process’ legality, arguing that the Law of Revocation of Presidential Mandate is in itself unconstitutional.

The entire pre-referendum period has been plagued by conflict between the INE and the president’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party because, ilegally, the party and López Obrador are forbidden from presenting statements, ads and billboards promoting his re-affirmation plebiscite, but Morena has blatantly refused to comply with this condition.

Also, the president has steadfastly refused to grant the INE the necessary budget to conduct the referendum, telling its members to instead “take the cost out of their salaries.”

Since taking office, López Obrador has consistently attacked the INE, an autonomous body, which he alleges wields its influence to limit his autocratic power.

Many analysts are predicting further national conflict and controversy following the April 10 plebiscite.

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