AMLO's Victory in the Referendum Does not Seem to Serve him

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Despite the fact that the Mexican president achieved overwhelming support in a recall referendum with little participation, AMLO fails to approve one of his biggest political interests .

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of the United Mexican States, during his morning conference

Photo: TW-GobiernoMX

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: La victoria de AMLO en el referendo no parece servirle

Anyone unnoticed who sees the results of the recall referendum in Mexico will think that Andrés Manuel López Obrador, better known as AMLO, maintains overwhelming popularity. 90% of the votes in favor of the continuity of the head of state would demonstrate the great power that he maintains, however, the main characteristic of those elections was the low citizen participation. Barely 17% of the electoral census went to the polls and what was expected to be a great accolade to López, resulted in a great expense that did not even get the 40% that it needed to be binding.

This means that if the "No continuity of AMLO" had won, the result would not necessarily have forced the president to resign. A victory, that AMLO and his co-supporters of MORENA celebrated and assumed as a symbol of support for the National Government.

So the results can be seen as either a win or a loss, depending on who you want to compare against. If you obviously take the absolute support of the Mexicans who did participate, it is obviously the support. Of the 83% of those who did not vote, there may also be several supports for the president. However, that 83% abstention could be the big mole of the day and that will surely be interpreted by the opposition as a majority of votes against.

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Currently, AMLO does maintain high rates of acceptance among Mexicans. The polls give him a 60% favorability. However, it is not enough to be able to advance in its most ambitious policies.

In addition, the 15 million Mexicans who actually voted in favor of AMLO and who will be part of his main political capital, which the president will maintain for the rest of his government, are not inconsiderable at all.

Last weekend, the government coalition did not get enough support to pass the Electricity Reform in the Chamber of Deputies. It got just 275 votes in favor and 223 against. Despite having the majority, it did not reach the necessary 334 votes. This has caused the opposition to be branded as traitors to Mexico, by the parties allied to the president.

Opposition movements defended that this reform would make electricity prices more expensive and would cause greater pollution. This left the first major legislative defeat for Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

What was AMLO's Energy Reform Looking for?

Obrador turned an energy reform into a nationalist policy in which he tried to exacerbate the patriotic sentiment of Mexicans. AMLO's intention was to limit the participation of private capital, especially foreign capital, in the national energy industry, seeking to stop the energy liberalization process that began in the 1990s. Likewise, López Obrador sought to return power to the Federal Electricity Commission, of public capital, which has lost participation due to the high costs of energy generation, well above private plants.

For this, all private contracts would be canceled and the CFE guaranteed 54% of energy production, which is currently at 38%. Additionally, it was also sought to leave the exploitation of lithium (to manufacture electric batteries) exclusively for public companies.

A New Unfavorable Parliamentary Period for AMLO

Something that the vote against the energy reform made clear is that the opposition coalition "Va por México", made up of the former majority parties (PRI, PAN and PRD), is more solid than before. This leaves a disturbing panorama for the Mexican head of state, who still has 3 years of government ahead of him and who will face a minority opposition, but unwilling to negotiate.

Now what follows for AMLO is a reform to the Mining Law. Despite the defeat presented by the Electricity Reform, now the president will try to "protect" lithium, as he already sought in his first proposal. However, the good news for the Morenoites is that for this initiative they only need a simple majority.