“It was a total success,” said Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), regarding April 10’s recall referendum, seen as a litmus test for his presidency. “The people acted very responsibly—millions of Mexicans. We witnessed a historical landmark. This has never happened. The people have never been consulted so that they can decide whether or not the president’s administration should continue. The fact that the people rule was reaffirmed….”
AMLO began his morning press conference of Monday, April 11, in high spirits, and reiterated his commitment to push towards “a new phase, not just of representative democracy but of participative democracy. This has already been applied in the world’s most advanced countries. The people are always consulted. There are countries where there are consultations every 15 days. It was a special day, a historic day, this past Sunday.”
The Mexican president highlighted the results of the recall process, which were provided by the National Electoral Institute (INE): 16,392,000 Mexicans participated. Out of these voters, 1,056,000, or 6.4%, cast their ballots in favor of Lopéz Obrador’s presidency being revoked, while 15,060,746, or 91.8%, voted in favor of the continuation of his term. There were 274,988 invalid votes, or 1.6%. AMLO noted that almost all of the votes (99.36%) had been counted.
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He also compared the results to those obtained by Felipe Calderón in 2006, when the electoral fraud took place. AMLO recognized that many people had participated. “I am saying this for our opponents who tend to get very angry,” said AMLO. “They say that yesterday saw half of the voter participation compared to 2018, with only 30% of the voting centers [opened], with dirty tricks and boycotts at the INE. The INE’s stance is deplorable, they should be celebrating, if they hadn’t invented so many obstacles. They couldn’t—despite the fact that they were against the recall process. It’s a paradox.”
“What will be the legacy of these events for democracy in Mexico?” AMLO was asked by a reporter who arrives at the National Palace at one in the morning on a daily basis (like many YouTubers) to book a first row spot at the morning press conference.
“It’s a good start,” responded AMLO. “We made progress yesterday and we will keep making progress. This is a good experience for the application of participatory democracy, and with the electoral reforms that we are going to present, there will be various aspects which will make this process binding. We think that the 40% participation requirement is very high … A lot of people participated. It should be lowered below 40%—maybe 30% or 20%.”
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He also elaborated on his inclination for participative democracy in which the recall mechanism will require the government to act correctly, humbly, not to steal and not to see the budget as something to be looted.
As he reported on the INE data, he noted that Tabasco saw the highest participation rates, with 35.9%, or 627,000 votes, ahead of Chiapas with 27.8%, or 1,051,000 votes, while the lowest rates were recorded in Guanajuato, with only 9.5%, or 431,000 people participating, and Jalisco, with 9% and 550,000 participants.
During his conference he also showed footage of the progress of the Tren Maya [Maya Train], Dos Bocas refinery, and the Mexico City-Toluca intercity train projects.
Featured image: Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador. Photo: Al Jazeera.
(La Jornada) by Roberto Garduño and Fabiola Martínez
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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