PULSE NEWS MEXICO
The heads of the U.S. House of Representatives’ and U.S. Senate’s foreign policy committees issued a bipartisan condemnation of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Friday, Feb. 24, because of his Plan B initiative, which seeks to incapacitate the country’s most important electoral body that passed Mexico’s upper house Senate one day earlier.
“As chairs of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, we reject President López Obrador’s repeated attempts to sabotage Mexico’s democratic institutions,” said Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and Republican Congressman Michael McCaul in an official statement.
Under Plan B, which AMLO devised after failing to pass a constitutional amendment that would have eliminated Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) altogether and replace it with a body that would have reported directly to him, the INE would be effectively inactivated due to a lack of funding and the removal of all its powers to oversee and control electoral transparency.
“By approving President López Obrador’s proposal to slash the National Electoral Institute’s funding and oversight capabilities, the Mexican Congress has imperiled the future of its country’s democratic institutions,” Menéndez and McCaul said, warning that it was a prelude to the regression to “the pseudo-democratic regime that held Mexico under one-party rule for most of the 20th century.”
“Returning Mexico to its dark past of presidentially controlled elections not only sets the clock back on its democracy, but also (retards) U.S.-Mexico relations.”
Since taking office in December 2018, López Obrador has repeatedly voiced his disdain for the INE, which upheld a ruling that he had lost his bid in a 2006 election against former President Felipe Calderón.
“The people of Mexico deserve an independent electoral authority capable of conducting free and fair elections and to be governed by leaders who respect the rule of law,” U.S. congressional leaders said.
“In spite of his hope to be remembered as a democrat and champion for the country’s most vulnerable, President López Obrador’s ongoing efforts to undermine the INE’s autonomy and independence will assuredly cement his legacy as just the opposite.”