Federal Court Orders Reinstatement of Jacobo as INE Head

Edmundo Jacobo Molina, reinstated head of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute. Photo: Google


A Mexican federal court on Friday, March 10, ordered the immediate and permanent reinstatement of Edmundo Jacobo Molina as executive secretary of the National Electoral Institute (INE).

Jacobo was forced to step down from his post upon the publication of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) contentious Plan B electoral law on Thursday, March 2, in the government’s Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).

But Blanca Lobo Domínguez, 12th district judge in administrative matters, granted Jacobo a full suspension against transitory Article 17 of the new electoral law that had ordered his immediate removal from office so that the INE General Council could appoint a substitute in May, warning that the legal reform to remove him was probably unconstitutional.

The suspension of Article 17 will remain in force for as long as it takes Mexico’s Supreme Court (SCJN) to issue a substantive ruling on its constitutionality, which is expected to take at least several months.

On Monday, March 6, Lobo Domínguez had originally refused to grant a provisional suspension, but on Thursday, March 9, the Ninth Collegiate Court in Administrative Matters revoked that ruling and ordered the immediate reinstatement of Jacobo to his position.

Earlier on Friday, López Obrador, who has never hidden his disdain for the INE, mockingly referred to Jacobo as “Porfirito,” alluding to former Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz who was in power for more than 30 years.

Article 17 and other segments of the president’s Plan B — which he devised after his efforts to dissolve the INE entirely through a constitutional rewrite could not get the two-thirds approval it needed to pass Congress and which would essential dismantle Mexico’s most-important electoral body — are currently being challenged before the Supreme Court.

Judge Carolina Alcalá Valenzuela, who presented the draft sentencing on Thursday, warned that Jacobo had been appointed as executive secretary for the period of February 2020 through February 2026, and that Plan B did not offer any valid reason for his removal from that post.

“There is absolutely no reason for the change of powers (of the executive secretary) that would justify early termination,” she said.

Federal Magistrates Edwin García Baeza and Sergio Urzúa agreed that the existence of a previous appointment for an established period, and the absence of any procedure against Jacobo, was enough to grant the suspension.

The court ruling also noted that should the suspension of his termination not be granted, Jacobo would suffer “irreparable damage.”

Notwithstanding, the court clarified that Jacobo will have to exercise his duties as executive secretary in accordance with  the new model established by Plan B, which reduces the INE’s structure and powers.

Jacobo has also challenged his dismissal before Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF).

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