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Blog | Transforming Mexican Democracy

While the choice for whether (and how) to vote in the April 10 Revocation of Presidential Mandate referendum is less polemical for pro-government constituents, the opposition lacks a defined strategy to maximize its participation's (or abstention's) impact. To tease out a way for the opposition to employ its vote to protect democratic institutions, the Mexico Institute consults its experts' opinions.

Regardless of the outcome, if less than 40% of voters participate, the INE could suffer more attacks for failing to promote and carry out the referendum successfully, further threatening this pillar of democracy’s integrity. However, given AMLO’s historically high approval ratings, it’s safe to assume that he will breeze through the referendum and tout the victory regardless of whether the results are binding – the turnout rate will just determine how he would do so.

If enough Mexicans go to the polls on April 10th to make the results binding – which many opposition and civil society groups endorse – and the results favor AMLO, he could use the results to justify an “extension” of his mandate and further erode Mexican democracy. If the results are binding and do not favor AMLO, it is uncertain whether he would genuinely step down, putting Mexican governance and stability in jeopardy.

What move do our experts recommend for this sort of prisoner’s dilemma?