AMLO’s Plan C to Install ‘Morenistas’ in INE
By MARK LORENZANA
Shortly after the Mexican Supreme Court (SCJN) on Friday, March 24, halted the implementation of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) electoral law, AMLO on Monday, March 27, in his daily morning press conference alluded to a Plan C and, in the process, criticized Supreme Court Justice Javier Laynez for overturning his Plan B reform.
“This minister of the SCJN overstepped his bounds,” said López Obrador, referring to Laynez. “He annulled the decision made by Mexico’s deputies and senators, basically the entire legislative branch.”
López Obrador also said that Plan C was “already applied in 2018,” when he finally won the presidential election on his third try, and that “the people said enough.”
“There is a Plan C. They are thinking that everything is over? The plan is for people not to vote for the conservative bloc, so that the transformation continues. No to a vote for the conservatives, yes for the transformation,” AMLO said.
Laynez on Friday indefinitely suspended the effects of the Plan B reform, which was approved this year.
“The application of Plan B is therefore suspended indefinitely, and the INE will be able to continue operating as it has before the official reform,” Laynez said in a written statement.
López Obrador said that “the majority of citizens know that it is not a legal issue” but “a political and commercial issue” and insisted that “what they do not want is for the salaries of senior INE officials to be reduced.”
In reality, however, Plan B was AMLO’s way of circumventing the non-passage of a previous proposal to altogether dispense with the National Electoral Institute (INE) — Mexico’s autonomous electoral organization — and put control and supervision of all elections under his office.
López Obrador did not discuss the details of his so-called Plan C, but the opposition and critics seem to agree that the plan is to install a Trojan Horse in the INE by replacing the current INE directors with candidates that are sympathetic to AMLO’s leftist ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
The Technical Evaluation Committee of the Chamber of Deputies delivered on Sunday, March 26, to the Political Coordination Board a list of applicants to fill in the four posts of INE directors. Immediately, Maite Azuela — a member of the Technical Evaluation Committee representing the National Institute for Transparency Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI) — flagged six of the candidates, saying that they are not suitable due to their “lack of autonomy and independence required by the position.”
The six candidates that Azuela flagged were Bertha Alcalde, Guadalupe Álvarez Rascón, Guadalupe Taddei Zavala, Lulisca Zircey Bautista Arreola, Netzaí Sandoval Ballesteros and Víctor Humberto Mejía Naranjo.
Likewise, writer and academic Denise Dresser – a known AMLO critic — in a Monday column wrote that among the candidates for the INE posts, “four of them are known Morenistas/Lopezobradoristas,” and that some — or all — of them could be López Obrador’s Trojan Horse in the INE.
“The cunning plan (of López Obrador) is evident. The impact of the Morenista overrepresentation in the Technical Committee is obvious,” wrote Dresser. “Faced with the suspension by the Supreme Court of Plan B, Morena will turn to Plan C. If AMLO and Morena cannot disrupt the INE, they will try to control it by installing their cronies.”
Meanwhile, López Obrador defended the application of Bertha Alcalde — sister of Luisa María Alcalde, current labor secretary of the AMLO government — and described her as “a very good lawyer, young, and who has experience working with us in the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection and in the Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks, where there was a lot of corruption” and said that whoever heads the INE “must be a person who is incorruptible.”
Alcalde, along with other aspiring candidates to the INE – most of whom have close ties to both Morena and the AMLO administration – achieved record-high scores on the INE knowledge exam, according to results released by the INE on March 9. although the questions were written by members of Morena and many allegedly had little to do with electoral law. There were multiple allegations of AMLO’s preferred candidates using crib notes during the exam.
Alcalde in particular reportedly answered 74 out of the exam’s 80 questions correctly, even though her legal background focuses on criminal law, and not electoral law.
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