Three months after concluding 9 years as an INE adviser, Ciro Murayama Rendón admitted having received pressure, although he said: “I acted autonomously, I did not align myself with the interests of the PRI, today I do not align myself with the interests of Morena,” he said. .
Interviewed by El Economista, the electoral advisor indicated that the most difficult moments of his administration were in 2014, when the protests over the educational reform and the Ayotzinapa case were about to suspend elections in some states; in 2018 when the PRI pressured councilors to resolve the issue of the reconstruction trust created by Morena; and in 2022 with the electoral reform that tries to deconfigure the INE and affect democracy.
Ciro Murayama said he was satisfied with having contributed in 9 years to the existence of a real control of the campaigns and parties in Mexico; booth installation; a concurrent federalism design; local electoral institutes that operate designated by the INE; credentialing of Mexicans abroad, and that during that time not a single election has been left out, despite violent events and the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the counselor assures that they are not achievements of his own, but of the INE.
The counselor Murayama acquired that position in 2014, after the electoral reform of that year that disappeared the IFE and created the INE. In April he will conclude his assignment, for which he assures that he has already asked UNAM to incorporate him as a full-time professor in the Faculty of Economics.
What were the most difficult moments you experienced?
The truth is that there was not a single quiet year, it was never a walk in the countryside; For example, the first federal election that we had to hold was in a context of a very high social protest against the educational reform and because of what had happened with the boys from Ayotzinapa, there were even calls to boycott elections. Our structure had many problems to operate, it was persecuted, attacked, our modules were burned, vandalized, people were attacked.
And then we have always had different difficult moments, I remember that there was enormous discomfort from the PRI positioning us so that just a few days before the 2018 (presidential) election we would resolve the issue of the Morena trust. I think it was to see if that hurt López Obrador. It was my turn to chair the Oversight Commission and I decided not to contaminate the election by exploiting the case the days before the vote. As soon as the election passed, we imposed a sanction. The trust did exist, money of unknown origin came in, which was being distributed among Morena militants and which was parallel financing and which had not been reported to the authority and therefore all opaque financing is illegal financing. From there the president-elect (Andrés Manuel López Obrador) got very angry and then the sanction was revoked (in the electoral court).
And I believe that the most difficult moment, not only for me, but for the institution, is the attempt to make the INE disappear and violate its structure. This threat to lay off eight out of 10 workers, to end the field teams that make each of the 300 districts possible, is the worst moment in the history of the INE and the one of greatest concern that we are experiencing now. It goes beyond the personal, because in the end I finish (my management) and I go to the university. The problem is that, for me, the INE, beyond the fact that it has been my workplace, is the cause of democracy, and what is at risk in Mexico right now is the possibility of having fair and free elections.
How is Mexican democracy now?
In 200 years of life as an independent nation, in little more than two decades, we have managed to have a fully democratic renewal of power.
But unfortunately we cannot say that democracy is a conquest once and for all. We have seen how democracies are eclipsed, how democracies collapse (…) And in Mexico we are experiencing the moment of greatest democratic risk in many decades due to an operation from power. In other words, democracies are facing, not external coups d’état, but now we have different political actors who come to power through democracy and once in power they destroy democracy, in the case of Turkey, were the claims of Bolsonaro in Brazil, of Trump in the United States. In Mexico, an electoral reform that blows up the possibility of having clean elections organized by an autonomous institution.
What are the challenges for new directors?
The designation is going to be very important due to the difficult time we are experiencing. As never before, you need people with a solid track record of independence, of proven professional and personal merit; that are not the transmission belt of any party and even less of the government. The best advisors have been those who, at the end of their term, retire to academic life, and understand that being a referee is not a springboard to be a politician.
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