Mexicans vote on recall of president, an effort he asked for

Apr 6, 2022, 8:46 PM | Updated: Apr 7, 2022, 9:06 am
A billboard featuring Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with a message encouraging cit...

A billboard featuring Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with a message encouraging citizens to get out and vote towers over a highway in Mexico City, Saturday, March 26, 2022. On April 10, a presidential recall referendum will be held to revalidate his administration after three years in office. Mexicans will be asked if they want the president to continue in office until 2024 or resign. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

              A woman, who is marching with relatives of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students, holds a banner with a message that reads loosely in Spanish, "In this April 10th referendum vote, he must go,"  in reference to Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's presidential recall referendum to revalidate his administration after three years in office, during a march in Mexico City, Saturday, March 26, 2022. Relatives continue to demand justice for the Ayotzinapa students who were allegedly taken off buses by local police and handed over to a drug gang on Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — For the first time in history, Mexicans will vote Sunday on whether their president should finish out the rest of his term.

It has been a bizarre journey to this vote. For one thing, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself demanded it. The president got angry when electoral officials set up a limited number of polling places to save money.

Second, there’s little chance that the required minimum of 40% of voters — almost 40 million — will show up to make the referendum valid.

And third, there’s little chance López Obrador could lose, with current approval ratings of around 60%.

So why is Mexico going through with the vote, which will cost almost $80 million?

Analysts say López Obrador wanted the recall to mobilize and energize his supporters; he is a president who has been constantly on the campaign trail since 2005, and he depicts his administration as a twilight battle to defeat conservatives.

So he is hoping the get-out-the-vote effort will shore up his party in state elections this year, with a possible spill-over effect for the 2024 presidential race. The ballot asks whether López Obrador should continue as president or be replaced.

While some opposition groups have called on people to boycott the vote, some opponents want to actually try to win, and say people should turn out and vote to recall the president.

Martín Meneses, 58, a formal postal worker, says such a vote “is important, so the president can see that the people are waking up from their slumber.”

Like many opponents, Meneses sees López Obrador’s highly personalistic, charismatic style as weakening democracy. The president has bridled at criticism, verbally attacked journalists, lashed out at judges whose rulings he disagrees with and has done away with niceties like environmental impact statements for his pet building projects.

Meneses sees the vote as another, expensive play by López Obrador to put himself at center stage. Referring to the government’s failure to buy enough medicine for childhood cancer treatments, Meneses objected to “stratospheric costs to hold a vote, when children with cancer don’t have medicine.”

The president’s supporters see the vote as equally vital.

María Hernández, a 70-year-old homemaker in Mexico City’s rough Colonia Obrera neighborhood, is all too conscious of the old-age stipend of about $75 per month instituted by López Obrador.

“In good times and bad, we have to stick with him, because if he isn’t here, they’ll take away the benefits we have,” said Hernández. “They can’t recall the guy who has helped us.”

Abel Medina, 40, who owns a small tortilla ship in Mexico City’s historic downtown, said the vote “will be worth it, to give legitimacy to the president.”

“Now we have a good president, not like those of the past who dug us into a whole by selling off state-owned companies,” Medina said. “That’s why we ant him to continue.”

If its unlikely to have any real effect, what’s the harm in holding a vote, apart from the money spent?

Rubén Salazar, director of the Etellekt Consulting firm, said there were dangers in the way López Obrador’s administration has been trying to whip up enthusiasm for the vote; the president’s previous referendums have drawn sparse turnout.

“The government’s own propaganda apparatus has carried out a very intense campaign, using public money,” Salazar said, noting “those who receive social benefits program have been pressured” to vote.

That remains a concern; Mexico was ruled for seven decades by the old Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, whch routinely traded hand-out programs in exchange for votes.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
9 hours ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
1 day ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
2 days ago
Evelyn Knapp, a supporter of former President Donald, waves to passersby outside of Trump's Mar-a-L...
Associated Press

Trump legal woes force another moment of choosing for GOP

From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign, a searing question has hung over the Republican Party: Is this the moment to break from Donald Trump?
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Mexicans vote on recall of president, an effort he asked for