AMLO's electoral reform causes massive resignation of senior officials

The resignation of the members of the National Electoral Institute took place after the Mexican President's so-called Plan B went into effect.

Eight important members of Mexico's National Electoral Institute (INE) resigned following the approval of an electoral reform promoted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), which could affect the upcoming elections.

According to the official communiqué of the electoral body, the resignations of the officials were presented "in order to leave the new presidency of the National Electoral Institute (INE for its initials in Spanish) in complete freedom", which will be incorporated next April 4, together with three new offices.

However, the decision of the eight INE members could reveal their discomfort with what many consider an attack on Mexican democracy.

Officials who decided to resign before the INE are: Ana Laura Martínez de Lara, executive director of administration; Jacqueline Vargas Arellanes, head of the technical unit of auditing; Carlos Alberto Ferrer Silva, head of the technical unit of electoral disputes; Gabriel Mendoza, legal director; Daniela Casar García, director of the secretarial office; Cecilia del Carmen Azuara Arai, head of the technical unit for transparency and protection of personal data; Laura Liselotte Correa de la Torre, head of the technical unit for gender equality and non-discrimination; Rubén Álvarez Mendiola, national coordinator of social communication.

These resignations will take effect between March 31 and April 3, the date on which the President of the board, Lorenzo Córdova, completes his term of office.

What is AMLO's "Plan B"?

AMLO's electoral reform is a decree that modifies several laws under the excuse of reducing INE's budget. However, Plan B goes far beyond a simple restructuring.

It promises to guarantee the vote of "vulnerable populations" such as people in pretrial detention. It claims to guarantee compliance with the principle of "gender parity", obliging political parties to ensure the candidacy of LGBTQ community groups, Afro-Mexicans, migrants, people with disabilities, youth and indigenous people.

In addition, it imposes modifications to the election calendar and eliminates the administrative branch of the National Electoral Professional Service and the General Executive Board, an area that determined the management of INE's resources.

"What the government is proposing is the destruction of INE because López Obrador is going to put his hand in to cheat in the next elections," opined Lilly Téllez, a senator of the opposing party.

Ramón Cossío, a former Supreme Court Justice, supported this opinion, stating that what the Mexican President is seeking is to"appropriate the electoral system".

"We want to avoid (...) Mexico becoming a Nicaragua, a Venezuela or a Cuba," said Beatriz Pagés, journalist and activist.