INE top brass must resign
By Pedro Miguel
The members of the group in control of the National Electoral Institute (INE) have made so many mistakes and have gone so far off track in recent weeks and months that they ended up contaminating the institution as a whole. They tried to blackmail the recall referendum by threatening to not fulfill their obligation to organize the vote, in accordance with the terms of the law, if the INE was not granted a larger budget.
With such stubbornness, this group, headed by the nominal head of INE, Lorenzo Córdova, board member Ciro Murayama, and technical secretary Edmundo Jacobo Molina, butted heads with the Chamber of Deputies, the country’s president, the Supreme Court, and with Federal Electoral Tribunal. In passing, it exposed itself as an interest group more concerned with maintaining the perks and privileges of its members than with contributing to the democratic development of the country.
But frivolity and a taste for wastefulness are not the only or even the main defect of this group. It should be recalled that after a brief period in which it enjoyed credibility and prestige, the INE lost both attributes when it validated the 2006 electoral fraud. It did not recover its credibility and prestige in 2012 -Córdova, Jacobo, and Murayama were already embedded in the then IFE- when they failed to notice Odebrecht’s money used for vote buying in favor of Peña Nieto and Monex’s moves to distribute the resources. In 2017, now called the INE, the electoral institute turned a blind eye to the fraudulent actions that allowed the PRI to place Alfredo del Mazo as governor of the State of Mexico, in a typical PRI election, characterized by the buying and coercion of votes, death threats, and falsification of opposition campaign publicity. A year later, these fraudulent practices, “mapacherías”, were repeated in the presidential elections, but they were not enough to reverse the peaceful popular insurrection that swept away the government parties with a tsunami of votes. An example of the former was election day in Puebla, where a scandalous fraud was perpetrated with murders and the burning of ballot boxes in favor of the regime’s candidate, Martha Érika Alonso.
In short, INE has been far from being an impartial arbiter. This is logical, insofar as it is an institutional creation oriented toward the perpetuation of the defeated regime in 2018 and in each instance, the group in control was the product of successive compromises between the PRI, PAN and PRD, parties that remodeled the General Council in 2014 within the framework of the Pact for Mexico, the coalition that provide a certain governability to the Peña Nieto administration. That is why the INE’s top brass have an undeniable aversion to the transformation underway in Mexico and an evident nostalgia for the legislatures that gave them budgets as inflated as they were unnecessary and bestowed them with privileged treatment.
To illustrate the gulf in mentalities between those who control the INE and those who promote the Fourth Transformation, suffice it to mention out that the expenditures of the executive branch of government went from more than 3.68 billion pesos in Peña’s last year to 519 million pesos in 2021 (one seventh the amount), without that Presidency’s having been affected in its operation or in the fulfillment of its functions. In contrast, the INE has seen its budget increase in non-election years. In 2017, the last year of Peña’s term in office in which there were no federal elections, it received 15.07 billion pesos; in 2019, 15.36 billion pesos; in 2020, 16.66 billion pesos, and for this year it was allocated 19.74 billion pesos.
The icing on the cake was Córdova Vianello’s temperamental reactions -the images of his tantrum in a virtual session of the General Council, with his face red with anger, reached half the country- and the funny and pathetic invention of the cartoon Al chipotle that, by unfortunate coincidence or by someone’s malevolent intention, seemed to emulate Lorenzo Córdova’s rages in an attempt to explain in a light, yet institutional way, that the INE is not as expensive as it is said to be. And immediately the question arose: where does the INE get the money to produce such an eyesore if it claims that it does not have any?
In short, it is clear that those who control the political, operational, and administrative strings of the electoral institution have placed themselves, by their own decision, in an unsustainable position and that their remaining at their posts is detrimental for democracy, dangerous for political stability, and deeply damaging for the image of the INE itself. Cornered by their own clumsiness and arrogance, Córdova Vianello, Murayama Rendón and Jacobo Molina have no more decorous way out than resigning.