Publish in Special Reports - Thursday, May 20, 2021
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at his swearing-in ceremony In December 2018, with previous president Enrique Peña Nieto (far right). (Photo: Mexican Congress)
Falko Ernst, Crisis Group; Christoper Sabatini, Chatham House and Pamela K. Starr, University of Southern California. (Latinvex collage)
Will Mexico’s authoritarian president increase his power further after elections?
BY JOACHIM BAMRUD
Mexico is scheduled to hold elections on June 6 for 500 seats in Congress, 15 state governors and local mayors and state legislatures. The vote is held in the middle of the six-year term of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (popularly known as AMLO) and is seen as key to decide whether he will increase his power.
According to a recent poll by Simo, AMLO continues to be popular, with a 66 percent approval rating. His party Morena, though, is less popular and could lose its majority in Congress, although it could form alliances with other parties to gain control.
If Morena wins the midterm elections, will AMLO push for a change to the constitution so he can extend his mandate, which is supposed to end in 2024?
To what degree has Mexico's democracy been weakened by AMLO's extension of the term of Supreme Court president Arturo Zaldivar and plans to eliminate the independent electoral council INE and lift the autonomy of the agencies that deal with competition (COFECE), energy (CRE), telecom (IFT) and data protection (INAI)?
To what degree will Mexico follow – or not – in Venezuela's footsteps in terms of becoming a near-dictatorship? How is Mexico different than Venezuela before Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro attacked democracy there?
Latinvex asked four experts to share their predictions. Our panel:
Christoper Sabatini, senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House.
Pamela K. Starr, Director of the U.S.-Mexico Network, the University of Southern California (USC).
Falko Ernst, Senior Analyst, Mexico for Crisis Group.
Carlos Blanco, Visiting Researcher at Boston University's Center for Latin American Studies and former Venezuelan Minister for Reform of the State and President of the Presidential Commission for State Reform.
Mexico: AMLO More Authoritarian