Less than a day after a court stripped Mexico’s former ruling party of the Tabasco state governorship, legislators amended the state’s constitution Saturday to delay calling new elections for 18 months.
The move by the state legislature, which triples the time the acting governor has to call a rematch, was seen as a bid by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to keep an opposition governor out of the oil-rich state. The PRI controls the legislature.
Opposition parties won a major victory Friday when Mexico’s top electoral court annulled the results of the state’s gubernatorial elections in October, saying irregularities marred the balloting.
The Democratic Revolution Party and President Vicente Fox’s National Action Party had challenged the Tabasco outcome, and the unprecedented ruling deprived the struggling PRI of the only governorship it had won since losing the presidential election in July after 71 years in power.
The court ordered the state legislature to name an acting governor, who would have had to call a new vote within six months. Saturday’s amendment allows the governor to call the elections within 18 months.
Although the legislature has yet to name an acting governor, many expect lawmakers to pick a member of the PRI.
The constitutional amendment was backed by outgoing Gov. Roberto Madrazo. Friday’s ruling prevented Madrazo’s handpicked candidate, Manuel Andrade, from taking office today.