The Venice Commission of the European Council warned that the electoral reform proposed by the president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador violates the National Electoral Institute (INE)its impartiality and could have serious consequences for representativeness due to the reduction of deputies and senators.
In response to a request from the President Councilor of the INE, Lorenzo Cordova Vianellowho on June 28 asked the Venice Commission for a opinion about the project of constitutional reforms related to the electoral system in Mexico, the body of the European Council indicated that does not guarantee the independence of the Instituteas well as the impartiality of the judges who arrive at the Electoral Tribunal.
“This reform, if approved, will radically change the electoral system in Mexico and the management of its electoral process. Previously, all constitutional electoral reforms had been proposed by the opposition. This is the first time that the President whose political supporters have the majority in Congress initiates constitutional changes so ambitious that they will significantly affect the next elections that will take place in 2024”, he warned.
According to the conclusions of the European Commission for Democracy through the Venice Commission, made up of independent experts from 61 countries, Mexico must discard the idea of a centralized institutebecause it violates impartiality, since it would be the power of the elected officials to determine the magistrates of the electoral court.
“The Venice Commission points out from the outset that the proposed procedure, under which INEC will be in charge of the elections of its own members, is unusual and creates risks for its status as an impartial body,” the document reads.
The agency indicates that the members of the body that would replace the INE, the National Institute of Elections and Consultations, should not be elected by direct voteas President Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposes, since suffrage would have a implicit political intentwhich would guide the actions of officials.
The Venice Commission pointed out that the procedure by which it is proposed to modify for the election of councilors and judges has to be reconsideredwell does not meet international standards and good practices in electoral matters regarding a balanced representation of political forces, in addition to the fact that they must be impartial and not campaign.
“Changing a system that works well overall and enjoys the trust of different electoral actors and years of democratic evolution carries an inherent risk of undermining that trust,” he noted.
In response, the president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the position of Council of Venice and he recalled that in the disputed elections of 2006 in which he accused fraud, the agency did not even pronounce itself.
“It’s good that the Europeans think so that the legislators take the debate into account, but when they frauded us, when they stole the Presidency, those Europeans were silent as mummies, they never said anything. However, they have every right to express themselves, to demonstrate,” he said.
Lopez Obrador celebrated that the initiative begins to be discussed this week in the Chamber of Deputies and called for all voices to be heard, including that of former president Felipe Calderón, who last weekend at the forum “20 years of FIL: Democracy and Freedom” said that democracy in Mexico is at risk.
“I understand that it is going to be discussed in Congress, that the electoral reform is going to be debated. That the legislators take into account all the opinions, even that of Calderón”, ironically the president.
Here you can read the whole document: