MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would send his plan to overhaul the country’s electoral system to Congress later on Thursday, a move that critics argue seeks to concentrate power in the hands of the government.
Lopez Obrador made the announcement about the planned constitutional changes at a regular news conference just as the current session of Congress was about to end. He argues the plan will reduce the influence of economic interests in politics.
To amend Mexico’s constitution, Lopez Obrador’s ruling National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) and its allies need a two-thirds majority in Congress. They are well short of that majority, and the bill is likely to face stiff resistance.
Lopez Obrador said last month the reform aimed at letting citizens elect electoral authorities with candidates put forward by the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
The leftist leader has long criticized Mexico’s electoral authorities, accusing them of helping to engineer his defeats when he ran for the presidency in 2006 and 2012.
Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez told the news conference the legislative initiative also planned to cut the number of members of Congress elected by party lists.
That idea was also pursued, unsuccessfully, by the previous administration led by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Lopez Obrador relentlessly attacked the PRI as corrupt before his election in 2018 swept the party from power.
The interior minister said the constitutional overhaul would also reduce funding for political parties, lower the cost of elections as well as make it easier for Mexicans living abroad to vote in the country’s electoral processes.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by John Stonestreet and Paul Simao)