Chronicle of an announced fraud

Democratic creationism served as an ideology to justify attacks on the National Electoral Institute and other electoral institutions.

López Obrador’s victory in the presidential election has encouraged a revisionist trend in Mexico’s political history. According to the new version, democratization was not the result of successive institutional reforms that dismantled the hegemonic party system, made it possible to organize fair elections, and gave rise to alternate parties in power.

According to the revisionism of the 4T, the transition to democracy in Mexico was the result of the victory at the ballot box of the movement led by the politician of Tabasco. Lorenzo Córdova, the president of the National Electoral Institute (INE), and Ernesto Núñez referred to this explanation as the creationist view of democratization (Democracy was not built in a day, Grijalbo, 2019). According to her, the elections of 1 July 2018 were the major transformative event that brought about a regime change.

Democratic creationism served as an ideology to justify attacks on the INE and other electoral institutions. In the forums on political reform, some Morena legislators have suggested eliminating locks against the manipulation of election results, as they say they have become unnecessary. For them, the authentic democracy that has prevailed in Mexico since 2018 would even justify the government organizing the elections to reduce costs.

In their book, Córdova and Núñez dismantle the errors of democratic creationism one by one. But if there is any doubt, it is enough to review the report of the verification process of civil support signatures for the revocation of the mandate. It shows how democracy is dependent on independent institutional controls and that, in its absence, the ruling party will be able to manipulate election results according to its interests.

Morena is no exception. He tried by all means to use the constitutional figure of repeal of mandate so that President López Obrador is the subject of an “ratification consultation” to re-energize his government. They saw the application developed by the INE to verify the authenticity of citizen support signatures as an obstacle to achieving their goal.

First, they put pressure on the National Electoral Institute so that its use was not compulsory and they were allowed to use the printed forms on paper throughout the country. The electoral authority will therefore be left without the capacity to ensure that the supporting signatures are authentic. The paper format allows identity theft to go unnoticed for election purposes. The INE stood firm, but the Electoral Tribunal conceded. The results were revealed.

The INE considered “verified” 3.5 million support signatures, 1.1 million captured with the application and 2.4 million in paper formats. Morena needed just 2.8 million to continue with the mandate recall.

But according to a home survey conducted by the INE by law, 25% of the support was fraudulent. The exercise was conducted on a random sample of 850 citizens selected from those whose signatures were verified by the National Electoral Institute. One in four of those who responded to the interview denied that they had given their support to the revocation of the mandate. Previously, the INE had already thrown away nearly 1 million support (21%) due to various irregularities committed by the promoters of Morena.

President López Obrador’s recall referendum will be preceded by a massive simulation based on the illegal use of personal data. But let no one be surprised in the Electoral Court, the INE report is nothing more than the chronicle of an announced fraud.

* Professor at CIDE.

Twitter: @BenitoNacif

Benito Nacif


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Dr. Benito Nacif is a professor in the Division of Political Studies of the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE). He was an election adviser to the National Electoral Institute (INE) from 2014 to 2020 and of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) from 2008 to 2014.

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