Will Eduardo Verástegui be on the ballot for president of Mexico?

Eduardo Verástegui Eduardo Verástegui. | Credit: Facebook of Eduardo Verástegui

Jan. 6 was the deadline for Mexican actor and producer Eduardo Verástegui to collect the necessary signatures to run as an independent candidate for the president of Mexico in the 2024 elections. 

With just 154,826 validated signatures out of the 961,405 required by the National Electoral Institute (INE), the government agency that organizes and regulates elections in Mexico, Verástegui was unable to be formally registered on the ballot as a candidate.

Mexico’s presidential elections will be held on June 2. In addition to the president, Mexicans will elect new members of the Congress of the Union, the country’s bicameral federal legislative body, as well as state governors and mayors.

Can Mexicans still ‘vote’ for Verástegui?

Luis Antonio Hernández, head of the Mexican platform Voto Católico, (Catholic Vote) explained to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that the INE required that the number of signatures be distributed “in at least 17 entities [states or Mexico City] of the Republic,” representing at least 1% of the citizens registered to vote in each of those states.

Verástegui, like the rest of the independent candidates seeking to run for president, did not reach this percentage in any of the 32 Mexican federal entities.

However, in a Jan. 9 post on X, Verástegui suggested to his supporters that they write his name on the ballot in the box that says “unregistered candidate.”

The head of the Voto Católico platform pointed out that “votes for unregistered candidates, according to current legislation, have no legal effect.”

According to Hernández, despite Verástegui’s suggestion, this recourse on the ballot constitutes “an expression of the wishes and aspirations” of the citizens, with no real impact on the electoral result.

“For the INE there are only two types of candidates: those nominated by political parties and independents. Votes obtained by unregistered candidates are invalid,” he reiterated.

The Specialized Chamber of the Federal Electoral Court established a precedent on this issue in 2021 by declaring null the votes obtained by an unregistered candidate who won the election for mayor of the town of Cucurpe in the Mexican state of Sonora.

INE cellphone app criticized

During the process of collecting signatures, which was done both in person and through a mobile app developed by the INE called “Citizen Support,” Verástegui expressed serious criticism of that electoral agency.

On Sept. 26, 2023, the would-be candidate reported on X that “thousands of people are having problems with the INE app. We are going to have to make a lot of live videos on social media so that they can see all the glitches that the application is having.”

By mid-December, with the deadline for collecting signatures approaching, Verástegui wrote on X: “The blow to democracy that the INE is dealing is not against me: It is striking all Mexicans who want change.”

“The anti-democratic exercise of the failed (or intentionally failed) application called ‘Citizen Support’ is insulting all Mexicans who have the right to express their disagreement with the situation in the country,” he added.

Interviewed by ACI Prensa on Jan. 25, Omar de la Rosa Silva, coordinator of Fuerza Verástegui (The Verástegui Force, a citizen network promoting his candidacy) and president of the National Political Council Citizen Action MX, agreed with the accusations of what he considers the National Electoral Institute’s “totally undemocratic” app.

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De la Rosa pointed out that the digital application “did not allow effective and timely progress in the [effort to] collect signatures.”

In addition, he noted that the technological platform still faces great challenges, derived from the “socio-demographic and age diversity” of the possible signatories as well as the “technological inequality” in the country.

However, “despite this result,” De la Rosa sees strength in the movement and believes that it helps them promote “the conservative agenda at the national level.”

Who is left in the race?

The Voto Católico platform has constantly monitored the candidates’ positions on crucial issues such as the defense of life, human dignity, euthanasia, family, comprehensive education, religious freedom, and conscientious objection.

Verástegui was considered the best candidate for defending life, family, and freedoms in Mexico.

Three candidates currently remain in the race for president of Mexico: Claudia Sheinbaum, a member of the ruling Morena party — which was founded by current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador — heads the left-wing coalition Together We Make History; Xóchitl Gálvez of the opposition National Action Party (PAN) is the candidate of the political coalition Broad Front for Mexico; and Jorge Álvarez Máynez is running for the Citizen Movement.

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Gálvez has expressed her support for the legalization of abortion, stating that this practice is an “individual decision of the woman” in a message accompanied by the slogans “#AbortoLegalYa” (“Legal abortion now”) and “#QueSubaLaMarea” (“Let the tide rise”). Additionally, she has expressed her support for the “diversity” and “rights” of the LGBT community. Regarding drug legalization, Gálvez has supported regulation rather than prohibition of cannabis.

Sheinbaum has also stated her position that she is in favor of the legalization of abortion. When Roe v. Wade was overturned in the U.S. in 2022, Sheinbaum, who until recently headed the Mexico City government, said it was “a setback.” Oliva López Arellano, who was Sheinbaum’s secretary of health at the time, offered the Mexican capital as an alternative for foreigners seeking abortion.

Additionally, during her tenure as head of government of Mexico City, Sheinbaum backed a decree that allows adolescents older than 12 years of age to change their “gender identity” on their birth certificate through an administrative process.

Voto Católico gives Álvarez an unfavorable rating in the areas of right to life and family.

Leaders well known for defending life, family, and freedoms in Mexico told ACI Prensa that the electoral scene poses major challenges.

Juan Dabdoub, president of the Mexican Family Council (ConFamilia), said the political future is “very negative for pro-life and pro-family” in the country.

After Verástegui didn’t get the necessary signatures to run for president, he noted, Mexican politicians could consider pro-life and pro-family advocates as “a minority” that is “in danger of extinction,” which is why he stressed the urgency of “proving that this is not the case.”

The Catholic, pro-life, pro-family vote

“There is an exacerbating cowardice that leads us not to speak about our faith in public, participate in debates on radio or television, etc. We talk and complain with ease on social media with [the stroke of] a finger and from the comfort of home,” Dabdoub criticized.

Marcial Padilla, director of the ConParticipación platform, said the agenda for defense of life, family, human dignity, and social development is “very compromised in Mexico in the 2024 elections.”

For Padilla, Catholics will have to discern “first, whether to vote, and second, where to place our vote.”

In this context, he stressed the importance of finding “creative, effective, constant ways that can create enough unity to once again form one voice for the right to life, the good of the family, and the development of society.”

“We are hardly going to find an ideal scenario. We have to work with constancy to once again have these fundamental values carry weight on the public agenda and to carry weight during elections,” he said.

This story was first publishedby ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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