Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday introduces a set of constitutional reforms so wide-ranging that they appear more like a government program from the beginning of his six-year term. In order to obtain his approval, he needs a majority that he does not have in Congress, and therefore he needs the approval of the opposition, which has fallen into the elephant’s trap. And if opponents say they will not have to deal with voters until at least halfway through the election campaign to go to the polls on June 2. If they say yes, their people may not like it, and in any case, it will be presented as a success for the president. A difficult situation. If a few weeks ago the PAN, the PRI and the PRD announced that they would form a strong shield against presidential initiatives, now they have changed the message. Who dares to say no to the constitutional enshrinement of increasing pensions and their budget? Who can refuse workers having 40 hours a week instead of 48? No one is in their right electoral mind. The three parties allied against Morena have already said that these two measures can count on their votes in favor.
What previously seemed like the president's desire to move forward with his reforms one way or another before the end of his term has now become a major electoral blow. The reform package must be discussed in the coming weeks, when National Action Party member Xochitl Galvez campaigns until the final vote against Morenista candidate Claudia Sheinbaum, who is leading by a large margin in political opinion polls. López Obrador will then have endless open public debates in Congress, through which he intends not only to constitutionally guarantee 100% of the worker's salary for his pension, but also to reduce it at the age of 65 to collect it, or to reduce it to 40 hours per week. . Work day. It also proposes a reform of citizen consultations so that 30% participation is sufficient to obtain a binding result; electing judges and magistrates by popular vote, something that has already raged for months accusing these public officials of being on the side of privilege and out of touch with the common people; Constitutional ratification so that social assistance is not reversed, which is one of the strengths of this government before the elections; Amending the electoral law, which is easier to sell to citizens because it withdraws resources from the political class and makes the electoral court appear useless while reducing the weight of the national electoral institution, such as withdrawing the powers of the President of the Republic. Of high public interest or populism, depending on who qualifies; The minimum wage is always higher than inflation; the extinction of independent organizations, which have also been criticized as costly and ineffective; Reforming the electricity law, transferring the National Guard to military command, or constitutionally banning the consumption of fentanyl, among others.
Analysts and the opposition have already come out to say that these reforms are a secret election program, and are unacceptable interference in the election campaign by the president. Some wanted to see some tension on Morena's part in the initiatives, if not to win the presidency, which seems like an easy path, then because of the need to win enough of a majority in Congress to ensure they have a comfortable life in the last year. It leaves solid foundations for the next government. Nothing is more effective for winning a vote than telling citizens that the opposition does not allow the winning party to govern, and does not allow it to raise pensions, for example. Aware of this fact, Gálvez and the PRI were quick to announce their support for some reforms. But the headlines in the media may still not appeal to you: some report that they have “joined” the president, while López Obrador boasts of his opponents' “desperation”, which he says is forcing them to vote for him. In favor of some of its measures. And to analyze others.
It is often stated that citizens do not like the Manichaean political game that forces one side to say one thing and the opponent to systematically stand against it. But election campaigns need sharp teeth and fangs to mobilize voters, fight, clarify and create positions. These presidential reforms put the opposition parties in an already weak ideological position due to the disparity in standards among the coalition members, whose only common denominator was their rejection of the head of government and his Morena party. Moreover, they never stop fighting among themselves over the candidates. Working in government is like playing house, it always brings some advantages. So, the opposition will have to choose well when to surrender and when to ramp up attacks to avoid criticism from insiders and others and benefit from the political uproar. The citizens' movement and its candidate, Jorge Alvarez Mainz, must show the same balance. Today, as six years ago, they face a charismatic president who has promised to disappear from public life when his term ends, but not for a minute.
If the election campaign is expected to lack salt, because the opposition only finds itself facing an official candidate closed in its field under the protection of preference at the ballot box, these reforms could breathe life into the competition. And dirty too. The matter will not be without criticism of the government for its interference in the electoral game, and the discussion may be filled with complaints before the referee. But the initiatives presented to the chambers are of such importance that they are expected to be higher than the campaign itself. The public battle that could decide the citizens' vote will also take place in the legislative sphere.
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