Legislative Violations Put Plan B’s Future in Jeopardy at the Supreme Court

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While Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) intentions to reform Mexico’s electoral process and its subsequent institutional oversight has dominated the nation’s political conversation for almost a year now, integral aspects of López Obrador’s so-called “Plan B” pivot from his dead-in-the water proposed constitutional electoral reform now seems poised to meet a similar fate as its predecessor after Supreme Court (SCJN) Justice Alberto Pérez Dayán proposed Plan B’s partial annulment to the SCJN on Monday, May 1.

According to Pérez Dayán’s analysis of Plan B – which was crafted on the basis of complaints filed by opposition parties the National Action Party (PAN), Party of Institutional Revolution (PRI), Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Citizens’ Movement (MC) – the reform’s passage was only made possible through violations of the legislative process by AMLO’s in-power National Regeneration Movement (Morena), particularly relating to the reforms on Mexico’s General Law of Social Communication and the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities.

Pérez Dayán’s draft went on to note a “cumulus of irregularities and violations” surrounding Plan B’s passage through both the Mexican Senate and the Chamber of Deputies via Morena’s majority in both houses, emphasizing that Plan B was presented to the Chamber of Deputies and approved by vote in a less than four-hour period between Dec. 6 and 7 last year.

“Despite this, the Morena parliamentary group, with minimal adjustment, endorsed them and requested their urgent processing,” said Pérez Dayán. “It is evident that by not publishing the agenda sufficiently in advance, the acting deputies did not have timely knowledge of what was to be discussed in it and, much less, of the initiative presented by the parliamentary groups of Morena, its allies the Labor Party (PT) and Green Ecologist Party (PVEM) and, consequently, have a real, democratic and informed debate about it.”

As a result of these purported infractions, Pérez Dayán suggested the altogether annulment of Plan B’s reforms to the General Law of Social Communication and the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities “for direct violation of articles 71 and 72 of the Federal Constitution, because the initiative was not presented on time, nor was it published with due anticipation for its discussion in the Chamber of Origin, given the non-observance of the provisions contained in the regulations of each house, thereby ignoring the principle of informed and democratic deliberation, as well as the rights required by popular representation.”

Likewise, the supposed breaches to the legislative process could put the entirety of Plan B’s future – which controversially would restructure and partially defund Mexico’s autonomous electoral organization, the National Electoral Institute (INE) – in jeopardy, though it would require at least eight of the SCJN’s 11 ministers to vote in favor of invalidating the reform for this to come to pass.

While the ultimate fate of Plan B rests in the SCJN’s hands, the implementation of AMLO’s controversial electoral reforms remains suspended for the time being, thanks to a suspension from Pérez Dayán against Plan B’s application to this year’s Mexican state elections and fellow SCJN Justice Javier Laynez’s March 24 suspension against Plan B’s INE-targeting provisions.

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