Five candidates for governor 2023/11/09

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Since last October 31, the Superior Chamber of the Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Branch of the Federation was left with only five of its seven members. Since November 7, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation was left with only ten of its 11 members, after the surprise resignation of Minister Arturo Zaldívar.

It is up to the Senate to fill these vacancies in the highest courts, but it seems unlikely that it will happen soon. For its part, the Chamber of Deputies has approved serious cuts to the budget of the Judiciary. In the midst of these ominous signs of siege and weakening of the Judiciary, the plenary session of the Electoral Court ruled on good news yesterday: in the 2024 local elections, parties and coalitions will have to nominate at least five female candidates for the nine governorships at stake. , including the Head of Government of Mexico City.

The measure was not without controversy. The initial agreement of the INE required long discussions in the General Council and the same thing happened yesterday in the Superior Chamber. In November 2020, something similar happened. At that time, it was agreed to demand that seven of the 15 candidacies registered by the parties for the governorships to be contested in 2021 were for women. A year later, for the six governorships elected in 2022, three female candidates were required to register. Finally, for the two governorships voted in 2023, in a way that was somewhere between accidental and natural, the parties and coalitions registered women in the State of Mexico and men in Coahuila. So the arithmetic argument was relatively simple: if it had previously been required that at least 11 of the 23 candidates be women, it was appropriate to require that five candidates and four male candidates be registered by 2024.

It is worth remembering that, for the 2021 elections, Judge Janine Otálora proposed that eight of the 15 spaces be for women. However, in a divided vote, the plenary session of the Superior Chamber of the Court agreed that there would only be seven. This year, the original draft sentence required at least four of nine women, but in another divided vote the full Court agreed to five.

Since the reform of article 35 of the Constitution of June 6, 2019, any citizen has the right to “be able to be voted in conditions of parity for all popularly elected positions, having the qualities established by law.” For its part, article 41 of the Constitution obliges political parties to observe the principle of gender parity in the nomination of all their candidates.

And “all candidates” implies the Presidency, governorships, legislatures, municipal presidencies and city councils. The parity in legislative candidates comes from years ago. For its part, parity at the municipal level has been implemented since 2015. Unfortunately, secondary laws do not explain how to apply parity in governorates. In fact, it can be argued that this corresponds to the legislation of each entity: the challenge is how to harmonize the parity requirement between 32 free and sovereign entities?

Some entities, such as Yucatán, legislated parity in gubernatorial elections, postponing its implementation until 2030. It is not the most progressive measure, but it is part of their configurative freedom. Most entities have not legislated on the matter, even though the Court has already required them to do so. It is in this context that the INE has attempted to correct the federal and local legislative omission. Indeed, it is worrying that the parity criteria are approved when the pre-campaigns are about to begin and many candidates of both genders have invested time and resources in shoring up their aspirations. However, it is to be celebrated that more and more spaces are being opened for women's political participation: it is a constitutional mandate.

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Nathan Rivera
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