Why Mexico’s president is trying to undermine fair elections

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends the daily morning press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, February 27, 2023. Photo by Luis Barron/Eyepix Group/Sipa USA.

More than 100,000 people in Mexico City on Sunday were protesting an overhaul of the country’s election laws that critics say would cripple its independent election watchdog and threaten its democracy. President Andres Manuel López Obrador has pushed the reforms, saying they're a way to cut costs and rein in an inefficient bureaucracy. López Obrador, known by his initials as “AMLO,” called the protestors “pickpockets” and “white-collar criminals,” and he insists his country is more democratic than the United States. 

“He ran for president in 2006. And he lost narrowly. …  He believes he was cheated of his due. There's no evidence for [it] but he believes that, and he blames the electoral commission for that defeat,” says David Frum, staff writer at The Atlantic. “And so he's been spoiling for a long time to get revenge, but he's also trying to consolidate personal power in a way that's quite new and sinister, and he wants to handpick his successor. He's chosen a candidate, by most accounts, who isn't that popular. And so he needs to jerry-rig the electoral system to ensure that he will have the successor he wants.” 



  • David Frum - staff writer at The Atlantic and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush - @davidfrum