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López Obrador achieves resounding support from his followers in the consultation on the revocation of the mandate

Andrés Manuel López Obrador has achieved this Sunday a resounding support of his faithful in the consultation on the revocation of the mandate. The president has been endorsed with 91.1% of the support with a participation of 17.5%, according to the average data of the fast count offered after nine at night by the National Electoral Institute (INE). Despite the fact that the call was only binding if the participation exceeded 40% of the census, the head of state has swept his own in the referendum that he himself promoted, taking a message of resounding commitment from his bases. Around 15 million Mexicans have asked that he continue and finish his term in 2024, about 10% less than those who voted for Morena in the federal elections last June. The opposition boycotted the consultation from the beginning.

Both the result and the mobilization exceed the expectations of recent days (the polls predicted even less interest) and are close to the forecasts of the ruling party. It is also possible to frame these data in a logic different from that of a usual election. That the participation has remained more than 20 points from the quorum, set at 40% – a necessary threshold for the result to be binding – will have no consequences in practice. López Obrador will finish his six-year term, as was appropriate before this vote, but today he has been proclaimed the winner of the first recall referendum called in the country. A process of direct democracy that has mobilized the most faithful militancy of the so-called Fourth Transformation and that has been boycotted by the vast majority of the opposition, who refused to participate.

To the circumstances of the political moment is added the context of organization of the day. The electoral authority installed 57,423 polling places, about a third of those available to voters in the mid-term elections last June, when 52.6% of the census went to the polls. That cut, a consequence of the adjustment of the budget destined to the referendum undertaken by Morena in Congress, deepened the clash between the ruling party and the electoral authority. The 18 governors of the Fourth Transformation, López Obrador’s political project, have openly accused the body of “avoiding the participation of the people.” In a statement released by Claudia Sheinbaum, mayor of Mexico City, shortly before the results were known, however, they celebrate “the success of the day, the triumph of participatory democracy and the support of the people for the president.” “Mexico today is an example of democracy for the world”, they highlight.

“Our democracy today changed forever. From now on, all presidents will have to obey the people”, emphasized the national leader of Morena, Mario Delgado. In 2019, López Obrador promoted a revision of the Constitution that allowed this call and last September Congress issued the law that regulates it. From now on, the next rulers will have to undergo a similar consultation if requested by a promoting platform with the endorsement of at least 3% of the census or if they do not reform the Constitution again to eliminate this type of voting.

The consultation data will now be the beginning of the six-year countdown. The president, who regardless of this vote retains a popularity of around 60%, has already threatened with an electoral reform, hiding behind the constant dispute with the INE, and has intensified the melee with those he considers his adversaries. The recall referendum allowed him to continue living in the electoral campaign, his favorite playing field, but this Sunday another race begins de facto, that of the elections that will renew the governors of six states on June 5. And from that moment on, all the spotlights will light the way to the 2024 presidential elections.

The mobilization, when the INE disseminates the territorial data, will also offer some clues about the ruling party’s ability to resist wear and tear and the strength of its apparatus. That is why in recent weeks the gestures of some of the main leaders of the Fourth Transformation have also been very relevant. Sheinbaum was the candidate to succeed López Obrador who most closed ranks with the recall. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and veteran senator Ricardo Monreal chose to keep a low profile, although when they went to vote they applauded this unprecedented instrument of direct democracy in Mexico.

Meanwhile, the main opposition forces, the PRI, the PAN and the PRD, which have not yet recovered from the 2018 defeat, defended their strategy of not participating to the end. “Morena turned her head and perverted the purpose of a democratic process such as the revocation of the mandate to satisfy her own ego and continue deceiving Mexicans,” said Alejandro Moreno, leader of the PRI. The leader of the PAN, Marko Cortés, maintains a similar thesis, considering the vote a farce, since in the end it has only served to strengthen the president and the government.

López Obrador went to vote first thing in the morning at the former Archbishop’s Palace, in the historic center of the capital. As he had already announced this week, he has canceled his ballot by writing a “Viva Zapata”. This April 10 marks the 103th anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata. His central argument was always that the Mexicans had the opportunity to kick him out and they didn’t. “We participate in the historic democratic exercise that is taking place today throughout the country. Democracy must be a way of life, a habit of Mexicans so that no one feels absolute. The people are the ones who rule.”

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