By KELIN DILLON
A number of academics, formal electoral officials and analysts have said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) acknowledgement of his own interference into Nuevo León’s electoral process could have serious legal repercussions on Mexico’s leader due to his public and self-aware violations of the Mexican Constitution.
On Tuesday, May 12, López Obrador spoke candidly during his daily morning press conference about his own personal interference into the electoral process.
“Of course I am, of course I am,” he said when asked if he was putting his hand into the elections. “If I made it known here, if it’s in the public domain, I’m saying it: We can’t be accomplices to the fraud.”
He went on to say, “I always say what I think … and I’m going to keep saying it.”
AMLO’s public acknowledgement of his constitutional violation could very well have legal repercussions, experts say.
“The problem here is that the president invited Mexico’s governors to sign a pact so that they would not put their hands into the election, and he did so with the purpose of tying their hands. Tied for them, but not for him because in the following hours he kept getting in and out,” said Alfonso Zárate, referring to AMLO’s self-written pact, signed by the nation’s governors at his behest, to not interfere with the country’s electoral process for the upcoming June midterms.
“The consequences will come soon, because the corresponding complaints will be presented, the National Electoral Institute (INE) and its Complaints Commission will have to decide on the precautionary measures that they requested from him and another scandal will come,” said Formal Electoral Councilor Arturo Sánchez Gutiérrez.
Formal Electoral Councilor Benito Nacif Hernández warned that AMLO’s actions are violating the constitution and the democracy he claims to uphold.
“He swore to obey the constitution and the laws that emanate from it. The example he is setting is that he is above the law and does whatever he wants. That is dangerous in a democratic system,” said Nacif Hernández.
The electoral expert said opposition parties to AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena) would likely file complaints with the INE, though it would ultimately be up to the nation’s Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power (TEPJF), which has repeatedly let AMLO’s infractions slide by without repercussion, giving him the sense of impunity that empowers his present speech.
“The problem is that the TEPJF has done nothing, as they did with (former President Felipe) Calderón when he gave a press conference and there were elections in four states. He had violated Article 41 of the Mexican Constitution.”
López Obrador should not be able to publicly speak on election fraud when he is violating the constitution himself, said Maite Azuela Gómez, a public policy professor at the University of Concordia in Canada.
“His position is contradictory, if what he intends is for electoral norms are respected, the president would have to be the first to not interfere, not even with any statement.”