By KELIN DILLON
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has already accumulated 13 complaints against him from Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) for infractions relating to electoral interference, based off of his well-documented outbursts against his perceived political opponents during his daily morning press conferences.
The registry kept by INE’s Electoral Contentious Technical Unit (UTCE) recorded four of the reported infractions as happening in 2020, with nine occurring in the first four months of 2021.
Out of all registered complaints, four received precautionary measures, two were rejected due to the lack of violation, five are pending and three have made their way to the Specialized Chamber of the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power (TEPJF) to be resolved.
On March 31, the TEPJF ruled that López Obrador would not be allowed to use his public press conferences to publicize government achievements or works, discuss any local governments or candidates in a positive or negative manner, promote social programs and keep all presented information to a basic level, until the electoral process is finished after June’s midterm elections.
Following an infraction on April 16, when AMLO discussed his Tren Maya project and social programs in Guerrero during his broadcast, the INE responded by removing the press conference from online channels.
Just this week, on Monday, May 3, López Obrador once again began discussing prohibited topics during his morning spiel, which will likely land him a 14th complaint for violating the INE’s orders.
Even still, AMLO has consistently spoken on his social programs, personal projects and electoral matters all throughout the requisite period of silence, showing his minimal regard for the electoral law as mandated by the Mexican Constitution, and little care for the very promises he made to not interfere with the elections.
“We have never had a president in the modern history of Mexico who has violated both the legal provisions on neutrality and his own national agreement,” said Luis Carlos Ugalde, former president of the INE.
“The president has posed a false dilemma to the population about what the elections mean, by pointing out that they must vote for the 4T in power or return to a past of corruption. He repeats this message on a daily basis and it is political propaganda to guide the vote in his favor, because the alternative, according to him, is corruption,” continued the electoral expert.
“Three days ago, when the candidacies of Guerrero and Michoacán were canceled, he asked the population to have hope and endure, that is, he behaved like a candidate, he basically said: ‘They are stealing the election and I ask you to keep your spirits up, because the fight goes on.’ This violates not only the constitution, but his own agreement for democracy.”
Other experts on electoral matters also pointed out López Obrador’s repeated public and inappropriate comments surrounding the elections are setting the stage for him to completely discredit the validity of the electoral process on the basis of fraud, if the results don’t come out in his favor.
“There are more than a million citizens who have been selected and are in training in the electoral process. They are the ones who make the election and to discredit the INE is to discredit the citizens who are the ones who make the election, that seems more disturbing,” said Lourdes Morales Canales, a doctor of political science in Paris.
Marco Baños Martínez, former electoral councilor of the INE, pointed out his AMLO’s actions are violating the constitution he so vehemently claims to defend, as well as noting López Obrador loud and public defense of controversial former gubernatorial candidate Félix Salgado Macedonio, leaving him squarely in the middle of election campaigns as he promised not to do.
As the infractions committed by AMLO continue to mount, his effects on the upcoming elections grow deeper and deeper, and, if López Obrador doesn’t agree with the results from June’s midterms, it could lead to major ramifications on Mexico’s democracy, showing that AMLO’s cries in defense of democracy are nothing more than a farce if Mexico’s very own population doesn’t roll the dice in his favor.