Unfeasible, austerity project at the INE: former councilors

The Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López Hernández, anticipated that no more resources will be allocated to the National Electoral Institute (INE) for the organization of the presidential mandate revocation process because the budget is “very compromised.”

“There are no possibilities, there is no margin in the Federation’s Expenditure Budget that allows allocating additional amounts or a budget expansion to an autonomous body (…) In addition to the fact that there is no precedent in the history of public budgets that are has granted a budget increase to autonomous bodies”.

The day before yesterday, the General Council of the INE unanimously approved requesting more than 1,700 million additional pesos from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit to complete the expenditure required by the organization of the aforementioned process, to be carried out in April.

During the morning press conference at the National Palace led by López Hernández on behalf of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is in isolation because he is infected with Covid-19, officials from the Secretaries of Public Administration and Finance and Public Credit presented a document entitled “INE Austerity Exercise”, by which the federal government proposes to the electoral authority to adjust its budget by 2,972 million pesos to have the necessary resources to carry out the presidential recall process.

Said total availability of resources would be obtained by reducing 718.8 million pesos of the expense corresponding to salaries and wages of senior INE officials, 1,384.5 million pesos in operating expenses (counting the 830 million pesos destined for popular consultation and revocation of mandate) and to make use of 868.7 million pesos from the trusts “Fund to Address Labor Liabilities of the National Electoral Institute” and “Fund for Compliance with the Real Estate Infrastructure Program and for Citizen Attention and Improvement of Modules of the National Electoral Institute” .

Autonomy

Luis Carlos Ugalde Ramírez, former president of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), today INE, stated that “the government has no power to comment on the internal administration of autonomous bodies.”

He believed that the government’s approach “is out of place, it is totally incorrect and inadequate.”

The autonomous bodies are, precisely, he said, because they can make “budgetary, administrative and operational decisions, without the need to have the opinion, approval or suggestion of another public power.

Regarding the proposal to use the resources of the two INE trusts, he explained that “it does not make administrative sense. These trusts have internal legal sources that cannot be used for other purposes. It would surely be illegal (to use them).”

The INE trusts, he added, are to fund medium-term projects or for the liquidation of workers who retire voluntarily.

“You cannot take money for infrastructure projects or to keep the modules of the voter registry working or for labor retirement, to organize a revocation consultation.”

He announced that due to the scarcity of money, the only tool that will remain for the INE to carry out the recall process will be to install fewer voting booths.

The former electoral advisor of the INE, Arturo Sánchez Gutiérrez, agreed that given the government’s refusal to grant more resources, the electoral authorities will have to install fewer polling places than planned and continue seeking to generate more savings.

The proposal to make use of the trusts, he estimated, is unfeasible and illegal.

“It implies violating the law or the rights of workers and the operation, especially of the Federal Electoral Registry, which is the one in charge of giving the INE credentials to vote with a photograph.

“What the government is proposing is to leave the INE workers without their right acquired over the years in order to obtain a settlement as established by law.”

What does the federal government want you to save on?

The Ministry of Public Administration and Finance and Public Credit presented an austerity program for the electoral body in the following areas:

  • 718.8 million estimated that the institute can save on salaries, medical expenses and incentives.
  • 1,384 million for operating expenses, which include travel expenses and support for food and fuel, among others.
  • 868.7 million was indicated that could be obtained from two trusts of the electoral body.
  • 2,972 million is the amount that the federal government stated that the INE can save by making the adjustments it proposed.

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Reference-www.eleconomista.com.mx

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