Mexico went to the polls to vote on a popular plebiscite, last Sunday (1), and decide whether three former presidents should be tried for crimes against the state. According to the quick count, between 89% – 96% voted “Yes”, while 1.38% to 1.58% voted “No” and between 2% and 9% annulled the vote.
However, voter turnout was only 7% of the total Mexican electorate, equivalent to 6.5 million people. For the consultation to be taken to the National Congress, the participation rate should have reached at least 40% of the electorate. The campaign seeks to investigate the country’s last five presidential terms: Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018), Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), Vicente Fox (2000-2006), Ernesto Zedillo (1994 – 2000) and Carlos Salinas (1988 -1994). One of the cases that could weigh against Peña Nieto is the forced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzninapa, in 2014.
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Independent journalists and movements that carried out the “Judge Yes, Impunity No” campaign denounced irregularities in several regions. According to reports on social networks, the electoral power closed the polling stations in some areas shortly after noon, changed the polling place of some voters on Sunday itself, as well as belatedly sent the summons to polling stations, in acts that would be an attempt to “boycott the Query”.
Despite the accusations, the president of the National Electoral Institute (INE), Lorenzo Córdova, held the first popular consultation in the country’s history. “It was successful for three reasons: it is the first national consultation with the same structure as the other elections; it is the popular consultation with the highest number of voters in our history; and third, because it was developed with civility and peace throughout the national territory “, declared at a press conference.
The Mexicans should answer the question “do you agree that pertinent actions are taken, according to the constitution, to open a process of clarification of political decisions taken during previous years by political actors, in order to guarantee justice and the rights of potential victims?” .
The initial proposal included the names of the five former Mexican presidents, but, when passing through the Supreme Court, it was changed. Mexican economist Ana Esther Ceceña accuses that the change was intended to confuse voters, “reaching a wording that almost does not understand the purpose of the consultation,” she said in an interview with Telesur.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared that he supported the referendum, but would not vote, because “revenge is not his forte”. The leader of his party, Morena, declared: “a great day for our democracy. The ‘yes’ was won and a new stage against impunity in our country begins, with the victims at the center. The cry for justice has greatly surpassed the no. May your voice never be forgotten”, affirmed Mario Delgado.
The popular committee that proposed the plebiscite held a press conference at the end of the election day announcing the creation of citizen courts for truth and justice and that the action plan for the next stage of the campaign will be presented in a new public activity on 8 August .
Edition: Vinicius Segalla