The popular consultation on corruption promoted by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had a turnout far below expectations and far below what was necessary for the proposal to become law.
According to the INE (National Electoral Institute), only 7.8% of voters went to the polls on Sunday (1). Under Mexican law, for the result to be binding, a presence of more than 40% would be required.
Of those who voted, 97.7% said they were in favor of an investigation into the possible crimes of the country’s former presidents, while 1.5% were against and 0.7% canceled the vote.
The voters had to answer the question: “Do you agree or not that the relevant actions be taken, in respect of the constitutional and legal framework, to undertake a process of clarification of the political decisions taken in recent years by the actors?” policies and ensure justice and the rights of potential victims? ”.
The consultation became known as the “ex-presidents referendum” because originally López Obrador wanted the question to be clear that the idea was to decide whether or not to try all ex-presidents living in the country. .
This Monday morning (2), the current president declared that “although the popular consultation did not have a binding result, it was a victory”. He added: “This does not exclude the possibility of prosecution and trial. The judicial authority has the right to act as long as there is evidence and material. It is open.”
In Mexico, former presidents and other politicians can now be investigated if there are complaints against them. It is up to the Court to decide to open an investigation.
López Obrador criticized the electoral body for not having, according to him, sufficiently publicized the popular consultation, which would have resulted in low turnout. “It was not a lack of budget, but a lack of will,” he said.
“They weren’t enthusiastic about this consultation and they weren’t enthusiastic about democracy. They claim to be Democrats, but they could have installed more voting points all over the country, they could have asked for the collaboration of state and municipal governments, of the people. , but no, not even mentioned. of the theme. “
The popular consultation was a promise from the election campaign in 2018. Since then, López Obrador has used the referendum resource more than once to consult the population. “Let’s listen to the Mexicans” was a phrase that has become popular in recent times.
So far, however, referendums have only been used to deal with works: the disruption of a new international airport in Mexico City, the construction of the Maya Train in the south of the country, and permission to build. a hydroelectric power station.
Initially, López Obrador wanted to mention one by one the presidents he would like to see investigated. They are: Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-94), of the PRI, accused of having privatized public property for the benefit of allies; Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000), also of the PRI, for a case in which he allegedly transformed a private debt into a public debt; Vicente Fox (2000-06), of PAN, for also allegedly granting concessions to the mining industry without competitive bidding; Felipe Calderón (2006-12), of the PAN, whom the current president accuses of having committed electoral fraud, and, finally, Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-18), of the PRI, for corruption, a process already underway.
According to specialists, the referendum would be a populist way for the current president to position himself as someone in search of justice – in a management approved by 58% of Mexicans, according to a poll by the Mitofsky Institute.
However, in the last regional and parliamentary elections on June 6, President Morena’s party contracted. In this election, turnout was also deemed low: 52% of voters went to the polls.