By MARK LORENZANA
Mexican Supreme Court Justice Alberto Pérez Dayán admitted for processing 30 more appeals of unconstitutionality against President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) contentious Plan B electoral law that essentially aims to eliminate the country’s National Electoral Institute (INE). On Thursday, March 2, the electoral law was published in the government’s Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF). The appeals were filed by several municipalities throughout Mexico.
Pérez Dayán previously admitted 79 appeals against the electoral law on Friday, Feb. 17.
Among the municipalities that filed the latest appeals include Metepec, Chapa de Mota and Huixquilucan in the State of Mexico (EdoMéx); General Cepeda and Sabinas in Coahuila; Corregidora in Querétaro; León, Acámbaro, Santiago Maravatio, Jaral del Progreso, Coroneo, Dolores Hidalgo, Pénjamo and San José Iturbide in Guanajuato; and Venustiano Carranza in Michoacán.
According to the municipalities, certain reforms in the electoral law violate their budgetary autonomy, specifically by “limiting social communication spending to 0.1 percent.”
Pérez Dayán gave a period of 30 business days for the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and the Secretariat of the Interior (SeGob) to present their responses to the appeals.
López Obrador’s Plan B is made up of reforms to five secondary laws. The first part of the reform, which was heavily endorsed by AMLO and legislators from his leftist ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), sought to modify 18 articles in the Mexican Constitution and represented the biggest electoral transformation in Mexico in more than 30 years.
One of the biggest changes brought about by the electoral law is an 80-percent reduction of the salaries of INE employees, whose functions will impact the upcoming 2024 presidential elections, according to analysts consulted by Spanish news agency EFE.
“Although the INE will not disappear, the electoral structure will definitely trim down as a result of the electoral reform,” explained Luis Miguel Carriedo, a specialist in electoral communication and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
On the other hand, Francisco Burgoa, a lawyer and professor of constitutional law at the UNAM, questioned the timing of the changes, which were made with just over a year to go before the presidential elections, when historically, according to him, “electoral laws are usually worked on in the first three years of a president’s six-year term.”
For its part, the Aúna Organization, which seeks the political representation of women in Mexico, said it believes that Plan B “will directly affect women who seek to hold public office.”
Mónica Tapia, the co-founder of the women’s organization, explained to the EFE that with the implementation of Plan B, parity now remains in the hands of the parties, as was the case several years ago, “without the guarantees of review and compliance that the INE has made.”
Tapia likewise said that the electoral law will reduce the number of women candidates, especially from the youth and from indigenous communities.
The appeals of unconstitutionality admitted by the Supreme Court will have to be resolved before the start of the electoral process of the 2024 presidential race.