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By KELIN DILLON

According to an internal review conducted by Mexico’s autonomous electoral organization National Electoral Institute (INE) following the passage of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) controversial ‘plan b’ electoral reforms, the implementation of the reform is likely to collapse key parts of the INE’s functions throughout the planning process for 2024’s national and local elections.

Plan b – which passed through the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and Senate this past December, thanks to a simple majority from AMLO’s party the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) – proposed severe cuts in the INE’s designated budget, the reduction of the electoral organization’s sanctioning power against candidates and political parties, and the elimination of the INE’s pre-established trusts, as well as widespread slashes to its infrastructure.

As the INE prepares to implement the passed reforms, the organization’s internal review has revealed that the INE anticipates major difficulty in its ability to adjust its infrastructure and operations to meet the reform’s standards and reduced funding in time for the the 2024 electoral process – especially considering the reform’s removal or alteration of many of the nation’s Local Electoral Public Organizations (OPLES), an integral aspect to the local electoral process.

With 2024 slated to hold major electoral races such as the election of the next federal president and the next mayor of Mexico City, the elections of new congresspersons, eight governors, and 1,596 mayors across the country, the INE is now voicing its concerns about its ability to facilitate 2024’s elections fairly and securely without the necessary resources.

“By not having adequate and functional buildings for the activities that guarantee the chain of custody of the electoral documentation, coupled with the difficulty of contracting leases for periods of less than one year, the electoral process is put at risk,” said the electoral institute.

In an attempt to prevent plan b’s proposed crippling of the INE, leaders from opposition parties  – including the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), National Action Party (PAN) and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – presented separate appeals against the reform’s INE-altering provisions to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) on Monday, Jan. 23, specifically referring to plan b’s alterations to the General Law of Social Communication and the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities as unconstitutional.

“What Morena wants is for public servants to be able to broadcast propaganda and to contract advertising with no electoral body, such as the INE or the court, which can sanction these public servants,” said PAN President Marko Cortés on the courthouse steps shortly after filing his party’s appeal.

“We have an authoritarian government that wants to win the elections at any cost,” added PRI leader Alejandro Moreno outside the courthouse, though his appearance was met with vocal boos after the PRI considered the idea of collaborating with Morena on a far-reaching constitutional electoral reform – the failure of which plan b eventually replaced as recently as last November while under Moreno’s guidance.

“In the next few days, we will also have to present appeals from the Chamber of Deputies and later from the municipal governments and the PRI governments,” concluded Moreno.

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