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INE, a privileged bureaucracy?

The large budget requested by the INE for the upcoming elections has caused skepticism in the Mexican population
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
31/08/2017
10:02
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Next year, Mexico will have its first major general elections. The Head of the Executive Branch, the Congress of the Union, state Governors, state congresses and dozens of local mayors in 30 states of the country will conclude their corresponding administrations. In total, there are 3 thousand and 400 hundred positions to be elected by popular vote, reason why the upcoming elections of 2018 are considered one of the most complex and largest electoral processes ever organized in our country.  

Within this framework, the National Electoral Institute (INE) will request to the Chamber of Deputies a budget of 18 billion 226 hundred million Mexican pesos for next year – an amount for which the Institute has received strong criticism, particularly because the Mexican people believe it's an excessive amount of resources. Thus, it has become common belief that Mexican democracy is “the most expensive in the world.”

Yesterday, the President Councilor of the INE, Lorenzo Córdova, said: “If we only understand the cost of democracy as the amount of money involved, Mexico is far from being among the most expensive democracies in the world,” defending their budget request.

Similarly, several electoral councilors have cautioned that if the amount requested isn't granted in full, the upcoming elections will be put at risk, considering a budget decrease will impact key organization programs, thus preventing a good management of the elections. They claim the budget the INE is requesting will cover the Federal and local elections, in addition to the expenses arising from the electoral roll and the audit to all the campaigns that will take place next year.

It is a very known thing that organizing reliable elections is no easy task, yet regardless of whether or not Mexican elections are the most expensive in the world, what matters here is that the upcoming electoral process will be a challenge, and while such a huge sum of money may indeed be necessary to cover all the expenses, Mexican society is skeptical of its political class – if not, downright mistrustful – and of the electoral authorities, even more so if we consider the recent situation of the elections held in the State of Mexico and Coahuila.

It's not the first time the INE has been heavily criticized in the past for its lack of austerity, though. There is a generalized perception that the Institute is nothing more than a privileged bureaucracy. Thus, if what the Institute is saying is true and such a big budget is required for 2018, then it is the Institute's duty – additionally to justifying the expenditure of every penny – to win back the trust of the people with reliable electoral results.

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