INE, TEPJF: AMLO’s Comments Deteriorating Election Fairness

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Google


In two separate decisions on Friday, May 26, both Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) and its Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPFJ) determined that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) constant commentaries on the upcoming gubernatorial elections in the State of Mexico (EdoMéx) and Coahuila constitute electoral interference that erodes polling fairness.

The two bodies — which are Mexico’s highest electoral authorities — ordered the president to stop telling constituents whom to vote for during his daily morning press conferences, which are broadcast live nationwide, adding that his comments are destroying any chance for a level playing field for the gubernatorial candidates.

During his daily pressers, AMLO has repeatedly called on supporters to “vote in favor” of those who support his government’s policies and “to vote against opponents.”

The endorsement by a sitting president of one candidate over another constitutes a blatant violation of Mexican electoral law, the INE and TEPJF said.

“López Obrador’s comments could be contrary to a constitutional provisions, because they are apparently requesting people to vote for certain political institutes, as well as not to vote for other political options that are of an electoral nature,” said the TEPJF in a legal resolution.

The TEPJF went on to say that such statements “can in no way be part of the communication exercise of transparency and accountability.”

“On the contrary, they could affect fairness in the electoral contest or influence the preferences of the citizenry in the electoral processes of Coahuila and the State of Mexico,” the resolution said.

The TEPJF warned that if AMLO persists in issuing such messages regarding the elections, slated for Sunday, June 4, the INE Complaints Commission could order the censorship of morning press conferences.

“The Complaints Commission can, directly and without any formality, order any public or private concessionaire to cease any transmission or dissemination of programs, spots or video or audio materials that violate the aforementioned precautionary measures,” the TEPJF said.

“The INE remains empowered to take the necessary measures to comply with what is ordered by this determination,” the resolution states.

By order of a TEPJF court ruling, videos and versions of AMLO’s morning press conferences of May 9 and May 11, in which he called for Mexicans to vote in favor of his administration’s so-called Fourth Transformation, must be withdrawn for social media and public broadcast.

The INE Complaints Commission unanimously determined to also withdraw comments from AMLO expressed in the morning conference on Wednesday, May 24, in which he spoke about social programs in the context of the electoral campaign in EdoMéx.

The commission ruled that the president’s comments “could jeopardize the principles of equity and impartiality in the ongoing local electoral process.”

It likewise issued a list of precautionary measures “under the aspect of preventive protection, considering that there is a real risk that the denounced conduct will be repeated.”

“The president of the republic is ordered to refrain, under any modality or format, from holding demonstrations, issuing comments, opinions or statements on electoral issues,” said the INE resolution, which called on AMLO to adjust to “constitutional principles of impartiality and neutrality.”

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