Protest by Félix Salgado Macedonio (left), this Tuesday in front of the INE.Monica Gonzalez
The clash between the presidency and the feminist movement regarding the candidacy for the Guerrero government of Félix Salgado Macedonio, the misogynist and alleged abuser of women, has led to a second confrontation that is even more acute and with greater consequences.
Now the push and pull is not focused on gender harassment but on the alleged electoral crimes committed by Salgado.
If the accusation of raping women could not advance, the one of violating electoral norms did.
And now the conflict does not challenge the feminist movement but rather the electoral authorities and, by extension, a good part of public opinion that considers that the weak network of democratic institutions is at risk from the hostility of the Executive.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has taken advantage of the controversial decision that the INE made when canceling the candidacy of Salgado Macedonio, to undertake a full line attack against the electoral institute: powers, financing and, above all, members of the governing council.
For his adversaries, this attack not only puts at risk the prestige of the referee and to that extent the legitimacy of the elections;
they also assume that ultimately what is at stake is the return to a presidential regime characterized by electoral processes in the manner of the sovereign, as was customary in the past.
Of course there are specific reasons for the disagreement.
Félix Salgado, in effect, violated the norm by not submitting the pre-campaign expense report required by current legislation.
The aspirant hides himself in the fact that, unlike the other parties, Morena does not contemplate a pre-campaign period which, in his opinion, exempts him from such a requirement.
But it seems to the INE, with good reason, that it is a euphemism because there were public acts of explicit promotion.
However, the number of expenses in question is minimal (19,000 pesos) and it is an administrative offense that could have merited a fine.
The sharp elimination of his candidacy is interpreted by the obradoristas as a malicious political decision, because it contrasts with the many occasions in which the INE did not seem to care about proven serious crimes, always relieved with merely economic sanctions.
In other words, the six councilors who voted to remove Félix Salgado from the race (another five opposed) have the legal arguments on their part, although it is also true that the rigor of the decision, in the context of a usually lax record , leads to think about the possibility of a bias, beyond the fact that for many other reasons the character seems truly unpresentable.
AMLO did not need much more to place the INE on his list of adversaries and, immediately afterwards, undertake the holy crusade to destroy it.
As the saying goes, the boy is smiling and on top of that they tickle him (or in another version: the girl is flirtatious and they put reggaeton on him).
In the last morning lectures the president has taken up the issue over and over again, not only in relation to the Guerrero case, but also to the relevance of the INE as such.
And this is where huge doubts are raised about what is really at stake.
In the end, for the president two deep grievances are mixed that lead him to ignore the merits that many others attribute to this electoral authority.
On the one hand, the conviction that he himself was robbed of the presidency in 2006 with the blessing of that referee and competed in disadvantageous conditions in 2012 in the face of flagrant violations by his adversaries without the authorities caring.
In its logic, the intervention of the INE, far from ensuring democracy, with its acts of simulation becomes an accomplice of the factual powers to betray it.
The second offense is fueled by a deep ideological dispute.
While critics and intellectuals accuse that the president's attitude constitutes an authoritarian attack against the incipient democratic institutions that we have been constructing so painstakingly, AMLO argues that historically all this scaffolding is a mere faramalla.
In his eyes, the last two decades in which the neoliberal model that led to the increase in corruption and waste, and did nothing to solve social injustice or inequality, was accentuated, is precisely the period in which all are founded. these counterweights, autonomous commissions, independent bodies.
In theory institutions that would favor a more democratic life, but in practice they were imbued with a conception that favored the legitimation of a regime that made those above prosper while condemning those below to abandonment.
In the words of the president, democracy that does not serve the people (and by people he understands the popular sectors that support him) is not democracy.
The two arguments seem to constitute an indissoluble confrontation between water and oil.
And yet, both have a valid concern.
It is true that enlightened public opinion was too satisfied with all this formal scheme that on paper brought us closer to the balance of powers that exists in democratic countries, although in practice the corruption of the elites and the exasperation of the desperate continued to increase.
Perhaps too much respect for an INE that was defended as if it were sacrosanct, although little was said about the way so little edifying as the PRI and the PAN divided the appointment of the referee in quotas.
But, on the other hand, although the president's irritation can be explained from his perspective, his arguments would lead to a leap into the void.
It is one thing to question the decisions of the arbitrator, or even a certain arbitrator who is considered biased, and quite another to suggest that arbitration disappear.
At some point, AMLO has said that the last decision on elections should be made by the people.
The problem is how to interpret it: by show of hands? In surveys that only the authority knows about?
The underlying problem and, there yes, all the critics' concerns are valid, is that the president has exclusively attributed the ability to interpret the wishes of the people.
AMLO seems to be convinced that he speaks and acts on his behalf.
Why do we need a referee if the people are in charge and he is there to guarantee it?
But in that logic, why would we need elections?
The president may be right in some of his grievances, but his argument opens those absurd chasms.
Are there other ways out of this clash?
Yes, although that would require the two parties to start listening to each other.
I'm afraid it won't happen anytime soon.
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