By KELIN DILLON
Following the fallout from Sunday, Nov. 13’s March for Democracy in Mexico City, which saw hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens show up in support of the autonomous organization the National Electoral Institute (INE) against the constitutional electoral reforms proposed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), López Obrador has now shifted his approach accordingly and will reportedly seek a “Plan B” path to accomplish his goals without requiring an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
AMLO’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) was previously slated to collaborate with one-time enemy the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to achieve the two-third majority needed in the Chamber of Deputies to pass any reform to the Mexican constitution, but after Sunday’s massive demonstration instead motivated PR leadership to publicly proclaim that the party would be voting against the initiative, López Obrador was forced to seek alternative routes to pass his electoral reform proposals.
Aware of the shrinking possibility to get a two-thirds majority to pass his proposal, AMLO announced on Tuesday, Nov. 15 that he would seek a “Plan B” capable of achieving passage of his electoral initiative by passing reforms to secondary laws without requiring a qualified majority.
“Since once and for all the constitutional reform is resolved, and since it is so important that there be democracy, it is probable that I will send a legal reform that does not require votes from two-thirds of congress to pass, a Plan B,” said López Obrador at the time.
“It is possible that, without violating the Mexican Constitution, to propose in a law or a reform to the electoral law, that the advisers and magistrates of the INE and the Court will be elected, that it be possible that there are no multi-members, that instead of 500 deputies there are 300, to see if there is, according to what the constitution allows, the possibility of making a reform,” added the federal executive.
However, Morena’s senate leader Ricardo Monreal Ávila later followed up on AMLO’s remarks by saying that it will not be possible to modify the composition of the INE nor the Chamber of Deputies nor the electoral process of these officials without an approved change to the Mexican Constitution, while Morena deputy Sergio Gutiérrez Luna went on to announce that he has already begun to search for legal loopholes to get some of López Obrador’s intended reforms passed.
“We will seek a reform in secondary laws that, indeed, could not contain some issues provided for in the constitution, such as the financing of political parties, the formation of the INE council, among others,” said Gutiérrez Luna.
“I think that the Means of Challenge Law or the Electoral Law could be modified, because those do not require a qualified majority; minor modifications could be made, but not fundamental ones,” said Monreal, who likewise called Sunday’s march a wake-up call for Morena to listen to the will of the people and “leave arrogance” behind.
The Chamber of Deputies is expected to meet this week to negotiate on AMLO’s proposed constitutional electoral reform, and if an agreement is not met, will later vote on the matter before the end of November. If the vote doesn’t go in López Obrador’s favor, it’s anticipated that Morena and the AMLO administration will immediately begin to follow through on their intentions to implement a so-called “Plan B” reform.