Why the President of Mexico is pushing for a recall of himself

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stood in front of hundreds of thousands of cheering supporters in the central square of Mexico City and kept him the most fascinating at the end of the speech Notable comments.

He urged the Mexicans crammed into Zocalo to participate in the April referendum to decide whether to remove him more than two years in advance.

“No one,’They chose me for six years, I can do whatever I want,'” Lopez Obrador said at a rally on Wednesday to commemorate his mid-term. “The ruler is improper, disobeys the people, revokes his authority, and fucks!”

The 68-year-old president may think he has nothing to worry about.

According to recent opinion polls, about two-thirds of the public approve of his performance because Inaugurated in 2018 On a platform that promises to revolutionize Mexican society to fight corruption and inequality and to abolish free market economic policies.

Families and marching bands heading to Zócalo passed by vendors selling white-haired López Obrador dolls and posters, labeled #QueSigaAMLO, or “May AMLO continue,” with the President The initials refer to the president. Many people said that compared with a president who has been accused of corruption for decades, they believe that the referendum authorized by the president’s 2019 constitutional reform is a testament to his honest character.

“AMLO is the first president who dared to be tested in front of the people,” said 22-year-old Debanhi Andrea Garcia, who drove 14 hours from Nuevo Leon with her boyfriend. “Because he is like that, we support him.”

Supporters of Lopez Obrador hold banners in support of the president in Zocalo, Mexico City.

Supporters of Lopez Obrador hold banners in support of the president in Zocalo, Mexico City.

(Manuel Velazquez/Getty Images)

Mexicans must sign a petition in support of the referendum before December 25. Among other things, only at least 3% of eligible voters can sign the referendum.

According to the National Electoral Institute, an independent agency that oversees the process, the initiative has so far received signatures from more than 703,000 Mexicans with valid voting vouchers, accounting for 25% of the total required. (The count includes signatures that will be discarded because they are duplicates or other violations.)

This measure was officially called “revocation of authorization” and was implemented after the president’s other efforts to increase citizen participation in public policy.López Obrador also supported a referendum to determine whether the former president of Mexico should Prosecuted for alleged crimes, construction of a new airport near Mexico City, and development of tourist train routes through the Yucatan Peninsula.

Francisco González, a professor of political science in Latin America at Johns Hopkins University, said: “He does believe that his power depends on people actively reaffirming their support.” “He wants to be officially confirmed and let him Feeling comforted because he is a popular leader who does the right thing for Mexico.”

Since taking office, López Obrador has also expanded the social welfare program and adopted severe austerity measures.He has stop Renewable energy projects to promote constitutional reform Strengthen state control Electricity market, and give the army more power-make it responsible for projects such as tourist trains.

President Lopez Obrador delivered a speech to commemorate the midpoint of his term.

President Lopez Obrador delivered a speech to commemorate the midpoint of his term.

(Manuel Velazquez/Getty Images)

His critics say he has not done enough to reduce high-level homicides, including many killings of women and assaults on journalists and public officials. Dozens of candidates Before the midterm elections for governor, legislative, and mayor seats last spring, people were assassinated across the country.

Critics also worry that López Obrador will attack democratic institutions that might restrict his power, especially the National Electoral Institute.He repeatedly belittles the independent agency, which in May last year Sanction him Made statements at at least 29 press conferences, stating that these statements may be seen as government propaganda that may affect the midterm elections. In Mexico, public officials are generally prohibited from making such remarks during the election season.

But the president’s vision for transformational change continues to resonate with voters who see him as a father figure. López Obrador has been in dialogue with his voters, holding a press conference every morning for the last few hours.

René Torres-Ruiz, a political scientist at the University of Ibero-American University in Mexico, said: “The image he has created is an honest person, a respectable person, an incorruptible person– This helps him in a society that is accustomed to seeing extremely corrupt politicians.” City.

Even if enough signatures are collected, obstacles to the referendum still exist. Members of the National Electoral Association stated that the agency has no budget for voting and that at least 40% of eligible voters must participate in a referendum to be binding. The referendum on the former president in August last year was a far cry from the 40% vote.

Ariadna Gomez (left) and another volunteer collect signatures.

Ariadna Gomez (left) and another volunteer collect signatures for a referendum on whether the President of Mexico should continue in power.

(Leila Miller/Los Angeles Times)

Stephanie Brewer, director of Mexico and Immigration Rights at the Washington Office for Latin America, said winning the referendum will increase Lopez Obrador’s view that he is free to advance his agenda.

“What he wants is to come out of the vote, assuming there is one, through which this renewed and expanded popular empowerment is politically strengthened,” she said.

The opposition parties accused the president’s supporters of twisting the stated purpose of the referendum into a tool to promote the Lopez Obrador agenda. The 2019 reforms required a referendum to “revoke” the president’s authorization instead of “approving” it. A complaint filed by the National Action Party to the National Electoral Institute mentioned how volunteers register voters next to posters promoting the referendum. Use this as a means to promote the president instead of dismissing him.

Luis Chazzaro, a member of Congress of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, told The Times that the referendum “has become a propaganda tool for the party.” He does not intend to participate.

In Coyoacan, a cobblestone neighborhood in Mexico City, famous for Frida Kahlo’s home, last Sunday, volunteers collected autographs in a square in front of the president’s poster, which read ” AMLO may continue”.

Ariana Garcia, a 24-year-old volunteer, said that she used the word “approved” for people she thought was like the president and “revoked” for people she thought opposed to the president.

“People tell you,’But I don’t want my president to leave’, so we tell them,’Well, then in this case, you can approve your support for the president,'” she said.

Supporters of Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador listen to his speech in Mexico City.

Supporters of López Obrador listen to his speech at a rally commemorating the mid-term presidential election.

(Marco Ugart/Associated Press)

Roberto Garcia, a systems engineer in Mexico City, said he would vote against the president and was disturbed by the recent federal decree requiring federal agencies to automatically approve infrastructure projects deemed to be of interest to the public or national security. He also believed that the referendum was “a kind of manipulation,” and wondered why the president contradicted the National Electoral Institute, saying that he had enough funds to hold the vote he had fought for himself.

María de los Angeles Resendiz, a 10-year-old grandmother from the State of Mexico, will support López Obrador without hesitation.

Resendiz, 62, watches the president’s press conference with her husband at 7 o’clock every morning, while preparing breakfast and washing dishes. If she needs to skip one, she will find it on YouTube later. She will also listen to the summary, just in case she missed something.

Before Lopez Obrador took power, Resenditz tried to stay away from politics as much as possible.When she was a little girl, she was disappointed in the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968, in which soldiers were killed Up to 300 people During a student protest in Mexico City.

She called Lopez Obrador a “simple” person, and his anti-corruption platform won her trust. She eagerly described how his government set aside funds for youth job training and expanded welfare payments for the elderly.

“He restored us to our dignity,” she said. “I am proud to say that I am Mexican and he is my president.”