Recall referendum promoted by the president of Mexico does not allow his mandate to be extended

Numerous messages on social networks call to refrain from participating in the recall referendum next Sunday in Mexico, under the false premise that it would enable President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to extend his mandate.

Affirmations of this type have accompanied the process in the face of the unprecedented consultation, in which it will be decided whether the country’s first leftist president leaves early or concludes his six-year term in 2024.

The plebiscite was promoted by López Obrador himself, known as AMLO by the initials of his name.

Under the slogans “You finish and you leave” and “Empty ballot boxes”, users on networks call not to go to vote, warning that the consultation “breaks the principle of legality” and, therefore, López Obrador “could subsequently request an extension of the mandate “.

The opposition bloc, made up of the PAN, PRI and PRD parties, calls for abstention, alleging that it is a “populist exercise” to “distract attention.”

AMLO accuses the National Electoral Institute (INE) of torpedoing the referendum. The entity organized the consultation with a reduced number of boxes and little publicity, citing a lack of resources.

– The query –

For the referendum to be binding, 40% of the voters must participate, that is, more than 37 million.

In the event that the response in favor of revocation “due to loss of confidence” prevails and the threshold is reached, López Obrador must step down from office.

On the contrary, he will continue to govern until September 30, 2024 if he wins the option that asks that he “remain in the Presidency of the Republic until his term ends,” or if the minimum participation is not reached.

The head of state has said that he will retire from politics once he leaves power.

– No re-election or extension –

“If we vote for the revocation of the mandate, the principle of legality is broken and in this way, legality is already broken, AMLO could later request an extension of the mandate,” the publications on social networks assure.

But in Mexico, neither the Constitution nor the revocation law contemplate the possibility of extending the presidential term, not even when more than 40% of the voters turn out to vote.

According to Héctor Díaz Santana, former prosecutor of the Specialized Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes (FEDE, formerly Fepade), legally “it is not feasible” for an extension of the mandate associated with the recall referendum to occur.

For López Obrador to access that possibility “there would have to be a constitutional reform,” he clarified.

The referendum “does not seek to extend the president’s mandate. It is asking people if they want him to leave or continue,” explained Miguel Ángel Lara Otaola, a specialist in Democracy Evaluation at the Democracy Evaluation Unit ( IDEA).

A press representative from the INE stressed that “nowhere in the Constitution are extensions of mandate proposed.”

In Mexico there is no presidential re-election either. Article 83 of the Constitution establishes that whoever has held the position “in no case and for no reason may hold that position again.”

The recall consultation was incorporated into the Constitution in 2019 at the initiative of AMLO, so if citizens go to vote “it does not break any principle of legality,” said Leonardo Valdez Zurita, former counselor of the former Federal Electoral Institute (IFE, converted into INE ).

Even if the result is binding “and the majority pronounced itself in favor of the revocation (…) what the law and the Constitution establish would apply,” he said.

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