Revocation of mandate, an exercise that dates back to the 17th century

MEXICO CITY. The mandate revocation consultation to remove a president or governor from office when he does not have the majority support of the citizenry took practical form between 2000 and 2010 in Latin Americaalthough this rule has existed since the 17th century in Switzerland and the United States.

Next April 10 will be the first time in Mexico that a president submits to a consultation to revoke his mandate, which will be carried out through a free, direct and secret vote; to be binding, it must have a participation of at least 40% of the people registered on the nominal list of voters.

Since the 2018 electoral campaign and in his first three years in office, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador He has indicated that it will be subject to public scrutiny, since “the people contribute and the people remove.”

In commitment 82 of the 100 that he assumed in the Zócalo of the Mexico City After protesting as the president in 2018, López Obrador announced that he would undergo a consultation to revoke his mandate.

Because as I believe and I have said many times, the people contribute and the people remove. The people are sovereign”, says the commitment assumed by the head of the Executive.

A year later, in 2019, the Chambers of Deputies and Senators, with a large majority of more than two-thirds of the vote of legislators from all parties, approved the constitutional amendment to establish the figure of revocation.

The Constitution of Mexico states that in the event that the mandate of the president is revoked, the person holding the presidency of the Congress of the Union will provisionally assume ownership of the Executive power. And within the following 30 days, the Legislature must appoint a substitute president to complete the six-year term.


In America, in addition to Mexico, there are 9 other countries that contemplate in their legal framework the figure of revocation of mandate: in the United States for the position of governor in 18 states; while in Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Argentina and Colombia it exists in different forms, and, although it is difficult to believe, in Cuba.

In Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia, this figure applies to subjecting the president and governors to scrutiny, while in Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Panama it applies only to governors and local authorities, while Cuba has a “revocation law for those elected to the organs of popular power” since 1999.

Among the best-known cases of these consultations are the processes involving presidents Hugo Chávez in Venezuela (2004) and Evo Morales in Bolivia (2008), who remained in office, and recently that of the Democratic governor of the state of California, Gavin Newsom , who was subject to revocation (recall in English) on September 14, 2021.

Newsom remained in office with 64% of the vote, but the one who was out of luck in 2003 was California Governor Gray Davis, who was replaced by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In the United States, the figure of mandate revocation has existed since 1631 when it was established by the General Court of the English colony of Massachusetts, inspired by Swiss legislation.

In Switzerland, the revocation exercise is limited to six of the 26 cantons or administrative divisions of that country and to request it, between 2% and 30% of the signatures of the electorate are required, depending on each territorial area.

In the United States, the figure is restricted to the state level and not federal in Alaska, Kansas, New Jersey, Arizona, Louisiana, North Dakota and California, among others.

Similar laws on revocation also exist in countries such as Taiwan, Ethiopia, Liechtenstein, Nigeria, and Palau, among others.


The revocation of the mandate approved by the Congress of the Union in 2019 applies to the figure of president of the republic and to governors, in the latter case, in accordance with the local laws of each entity.

According to a count made by the Belisario Domínguez Institute (IBD) of the Senate, until April 2022, only 14 states already recognize in their local constitutions the revocation of mandate as a democratic mechanism of direct participation, with 18 states still missing to comply with their legal harmonization.

In the case of the President of the Republic, the revocation is called by the National Electoral Institute (INE) at the request of citizens, in a number equivalent to 3% of those registered on the nominal list of voters, corresponding to at least 17 entities. federative.

The revocation consultation can be requested on a single occasion and during the three months after the conclusion of the third year of the constitutional period, on a date that does not coincide with the federal or local electoral days, in accordance with the legislation.

It is the exclusive power of the INE directly, the organization, development and calculation of the vote, for which the body will issue the results of the revocation processes of the mandate of the head of the federal Executive, which may be challenged before the Superior Chamber of the Electoral Court of the Judicial Power of the Federation (TEPJF).

In this case, the Superior Room of the TEPJF will make the final calculation of the revocation process, once the challenges that have been filed have been resolved. In his case, he would issue the declaration of revocation.

The Constitution prohibits the use of public resources in the collection of citizen signatures that request the exercise of revocation, as well as for the purposes of promotion and propaganda related to the processes of revocation of mandate, since the INE and the local public organisms are the only ones that can promote citizen participation.

For the process to be binding, at least 40% of the nominal list must have participated in it, which corresponds to 37 million 129 thousand 287 Mexican citizens. It must be remembered that only 7% of voters participated in the popular consultation of August 2021 on “trial of the former presidents”, so it had no real validity.


On Sunday, April 10, 57,500 booths will be installed in the country, of which 57,200 will correspond to the sections into which the national territory is divided and 300 will be special booths for citizens in transit, that is, one for each of the 300 districts into which the country is divided.

All people who are over 18 years old and have their INE credential with a valid photograph can participate, and even those that are valid until the previous year, that is, 2021, will be received.

On the site “Locate your box” you can find the place where the box will be located to vote.

For the revocation exercise, more than 94 million electoral ballots have been printed, which are guarded by the army in each of the 300 electoral districts.

During a session of General Electoral Council of the INEAt the end of last February, the President Councilor Lorenzo Córdova announced that a total of 1,692.5 million pesos will be spent on the revocation of the mandate, after approving austerity measures.


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