IFES and Mexican National Electoral Institute Reaffirm Longstanding Partnership
by Marit Björnlund*
On November 5, 2018, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) President and CEO Anthony Banbury met with Dr. Lorenzo Córdova Vianello, chair of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE).
IFES and INE enjoy a longstanding relationship of cooperation dating back to 1994, with INE’s predecessor, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). In the November 5 meeting at IFES’ headquarters, Banbury and Dr. Córdova reaffirmed their mutual enthusiasm for continuing this strong partnership in which IFES and INE both learn from and provide support to each other’s work.
INE is one of three electoral management bodies (EMBs) in Mexico and is an autonomous public organization responsible for organizing and administering federal elections. Dr. Córdova has been INE’s chair since April 2014, when the Mexican election system underwent major reforms and IFE was redesigned as INE.
In their conversation, Dr. Córdova emphasized that the INE is hoping through its partnership with IFES to both share its experience and to strengthen Mexican elections based on international best practices, improving Mexican elections’ legitimacy at home and abroad. This past July, Mexico held the largest election of its history, the first concurrent federal (presidential and legislative) and local (state and municipal) electoral cycles after the implementation of the May 2014 reforms that established the INE and its responsibility to organize elections. Almost 90 million Mexican citizens were eligible to vote in the process that elected 18,299 federal, state and municipal candidates. Further, EMBs displayed a substantial increase in accountability, Dr. Córdova said. Mexico’s elections this year also welcomed IFES observers and recommendations.
Banbury not only highlighted IFES’ and INE’s shared priorities and core issue areas, but also thanked INE for its recent work supporting IFES programs in Guatemala and Haiti through peer-to-peer exchanges. Earlier this year, the INE shared valuable insights with visitors from Guatemalan and Haitian EMBs on tracking public campaign spending and electoral reform processes, among other areas. IFES and INE hope to work together through similar exchanges in the future.
The partnership with INE continues to be extremely valuable in part because Mexico is a global leader on election administration. For example, as a result of enforcing the framework to advance inclusion, Mexico’s Congress currently has the fourth-highest percentage of women of all world Parliaments, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and now has 13 representatives from the indigenous population, Dr. Córdova noted.
One area of further discussion was cybersecurity and the fight against fake news and disinformation, which Dr. Córdova also presented on at IFES’ “Elections Under Threat?” event on November 6. The INE is proud to be the first EMB in the world to have agreements with Facebook, Twitter and Google, and hopes to share that experience with other countries.
Banbury and Dr. Córdova agreed that cybersecurity and fake news are ongoing issues that will require constant, proactive innovation, rather than a one-time solution – innovation that will be supported by IFES and INE’s collaboration. “There’s not an end point” for the fake news problem, Dr. Córdova said, and IFES and INE will work on addressing this issue and others through their partnership.
*Björnlund is a program associate for Latin America and the Caribbean at IFES.