INE’s Jacobo Dismissed upon Publication of Plan B
By MARK LORENZANA
Edmundo Jacobo, former secretary general of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE), was immediately forced to step down from his post upon the publication of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) Plan B electoral law on Thursday, March 2, in the government’s Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).
In the Plan B reform, the General Law of Electoral Institutions and Procedures now indicates that the 300 district executive boards of the INE have been eliminated, which could put the electoral roll at risk. INE directors will also now earn less than the president of Mexico, among other changes.
On the other hand, the General Law of Political Parties states that the INE cannot intervene in the election of party leaders, nor in the modifications of the basic documents of political parties. In addition, political parties can now still use and spend their remaining funds for subsequent fiscal years, which was previously prohibited.
As for the dismissal of Jacobo, transitory article 17 of the reform establishes that “given the modification of the powers of the Executive Secretariat with the entry into force of this decree, the person holding said position (Jacobo) will cease to function as of its publication.”
López Obrador, in his morning press conference on Thursday, celebrated the removal of Jacobo, whom he criticized for having been in the same position for an extended period of time, and for “having a salary higher than that of the president of the republic.”
“Maybe he wants to have a job for life,” said AMLO of Jacobo. “Maybe he has forgotten that we are in a republic, not a monarchy. He’s served for many years, and he still dares complain?”
Jacobo has served as secretary general of the INE for 14 years, and would have served for another three years, until 2026, if not for the passage of the Plan B law.
On Wednesday night, hours before the publication of the reform in the DOF, the head of the INE, Lorenzo Córdova, recognized the career of Jacobo, and said that the INE’s doors were open if he wanted to return to work for the electoral body.
“I want to particularly thank Edmundo Jacobo, an exemplary public official who, for 14 years, has contributed to building the freedoms and rights of Mexico,” Córdova said. “An official who, in the next few hours by virtue of an arbitrary, unconstitutional, regressive and undemocratic reform, will be fired, will be dismissed. Thank you, Edmundo, because democracy, Mexican society, the INE — we owe you a lot. And when the constitutional and democratic order is restored, Edmundo, we will wait for you back at the institute.”
“The legal and constitutional battle to save our democracy begins. The INE will go with respect and conviction before the Supreme Court. It is time to defend the freedoms and rights of all,” wrote Ciro Murayama, INE electoral counselor, on his official Twitter account.
For her part, Claudia Zavala, INE electoral consultant, accused the AMLO government of targeting Jacobo.
“I am confident that surely in the next few days he (Jacobo) will resume his responsibilities, once the Supreme Court annuls that arbitrary provision, that electoral reform, which was weaponized specifically against him to remove Edmundo from office,” said Zavala.
Jaime Rivera, another INE counselor, said he trusts Mexico’s Supreme Court (SCJN) to invalidate the electoral reform, since it “puts the holding of free, efficient and clean elections at risk.”
“The so-called Plan B orders the dismissal of about 2,000 members of the INE and more administrative positions, and the disappearance of district boards that organize the elections in each district that ensure the installation of polling stations and their impartial operation,” said Rivera. “The electoral reform also mutilates local boards, helps promote government propaganda during electoral campaigns, allows the intervention of public officials in the elections and weakens the INE’s powers to ensure fair elections.”
Meanwhile, the General Council of the INE is already preparing to appoint Jacobo’s replacement — lawyer Roberto Heycher Cardiel Soto, who currently works as executive director of electoral training and civic education at the INE.