With only 21 days of validity, the reform to the Mexican electoral laws, called Plan B by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, It was suspended Friday night by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), Therefore, the changes – which modify the structure of the National Electoral Institute (INE) – cannot be applied until the merits of the Constitutional Controversy promoted by the autonomous body are resolved.
the minister Javier Laynez Potisek, who will be in charge of preparing the sentence, accepted the INE’s claim for processing in which the decree that created the new General Law of Means of Challenge in Electoral Matters is challenged, and the General Law of Institutions and Procedures was reformed Electoral, the General Law of Political Parties, and the Organic Law of the Judiciary of the Federation.
In the admissibility agreement of the INE case, Laynez Potisek granted the suspension requested by the electoral authority, for the effect “that things remain in the state in which they are today, and govern the provisions in force before the respective reform”, detailed the SCJN in a statement.
“Consequently, to avoid the possible decrease in the operational capacity of the (electoral) body and with it safeguard the national democratic system, the granting of the precautionary measure is imposed against the entirety of the contested decree ”, points out the determination of the minister Javier Laynez Potisek. This means that the entire reform is suspended.
The country’s highest court specified that this suspension was granted because the challenged decree not only contains general rules, but also specific acts of application, on which the suspension is generally granted.
Therefore, none of the acts ordered by the reform should be carried out, such as the restructuring of various areas of the INE, which would have implied the dismissal of between 4,000 and 6,000 workers. Thus, thanks to the suspension granted by the Court, the new order must cease to be complied with.
In this sense, the SCJN explained that on other occasions it has already resolved that, in Constitutional Disputes, “Yes, it is appropriate to grant the suspension even in the case of laws, when (these) could irreparably violate human rights.”
“In the case at hand, it deals with the possible violation of the political-electoral rights of citizens,” added the Court.
backhand to president
As will be recalled, the first part of the Plan B The presidential election, in force since December 2022, was also suspended by the Supreme Court, and cannot be applied in the State of Mexico and Coahuila, entities that will have elections in 2023.
This part of the reform introduced changes to the General Law of Social Communication and Administrative Responsibilities, allowing governments and their officials disseminate publicity about their achievements and programs, even in electoral periods, what is expressly prohibited in the eighth paragraph of article 134 of the Constitution.
Added to this suspension is now the one granted by Minister Laynez Potisek to the core part of the electoral reform promoted by the president, so it can be affirmed that -in a preliminary way- the Court is observing that these legislative changes can harm the rights rights of citizens, due to the constitutional transgressions indicated in the lawsuit filed by the INE.
Electoral Plan B, so named because López Obrador was unable to amend the Constitution because he did not have a qualified majority in Congress, diminishes the functions and powers of the National Electoral Institute, and dismantles several of the body’s technical bodies, such as the Technical Unit Control or the Technical Unit for Electoral Litigation.
Likewise, the legislative reform orders the disappearance of the permanent district bodies of the INE, and replaces them with auxiliary offices that will only have one member, instead of the five officials that the former had.
This not only weakens the electoral authority, but also violates the principle of professionalization that the INE must observe, as ordered by article 41 of the Constitution.
In addition to this restructuring, the reform package today suspended by the Court establishes that the INE will not be able to fine the parties if they do not maintain an updated register of affiliates; and the political institutes will not have the obligation to return to the Treasury of the Federation the public resources that they have not exercised.
Likewise, the independence and full jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary is limited, by indicating how the norms should be interpreted, while prohibits electoral magistrates from canceling candidacies of candidates who have violated the law.
However, with the suspension already granted, none of these changes may be applied within the INE, nor the Electoral Tribunal, so all authorities, including the head of the Executive Power, must observe the electoral legislation prior to the reform.
surya palaces Journalist and lawyer, specialist in legal analysis and human rights. She has been a reporter, radio host and editor.