Amlo calls decision to disqualify candidates ‘a blow to democracy’

Mexico’s electoral tribunal upheld ruling barring two candidates, including one accused of rape, for failing to file expense reports

Mexico’s president has blasted a decision to disqualify two of his party’s gubernatorial candidates – including one accused of rape – describing the decision by Mexico’s electoral tribunal as “a blow to democracy”.

“Democracy is respecting the will of the people,” said Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as Amlo, at his morning press conference on Wednesday. “In a democracy, it’s the people who decide. It’s the people who give orders.”

Late on Tuesday, Mexico’s electoral tribunal upheld a ruling which disqualified gubernatorial candidates Félix Salgado Macedonio in Guerrero and Raúl Morón in Michoacán from the 6 June elections because they had failed to file campaign expense reports.

Salgado Macedonio faces five accusations of sexual abuse, including rape, and his campaign became a lightning rod for the growing tension between the president and Mexico’s feminist movement. Salgado Macedonio has denied all the allegations.

Amlo has doggedly supported Salgado Macedonio, claiming that the accusations were politically motivated. .

The saga has also highlighted Amlo’s lingering disdain for Mexico’s autonomous electoral institute and electoral tribunals. The institute discarded his claims of electoral fraud in 2006, when he lost a close election and refused Amlo’s calls for a recount.

Amlo also complained at a ruling, which ordered him to avoid speaking on partisan political matters and promoting his own administration in his daily two-hour press conference during the ongoing electoral period.

Analysts say Amlo’s allies crafted the very rules the institute is trying to apply as part of a 2007 electoral reform – after Amlo complained that the then president, Vicente Fox, was making inappropriate comments.

Amlo has promised to once again overhaul the electoral institute. He has also threatened to remove the autonomy of institutes and watchdog agencies – such as the transparency institute – and critics accuse him of trying to unduly influence the judiciary.

“He believes that democracy is the will of the people. Absolutely no room for minority rights, property rights that go against the will of the majority, institutions that protect minorities,” said Jeffrey Weldon, a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, who studies Mexico’s electoral institute.

“Amlo believes that any vote for him is a mandate for all of his policies.”

Contributor

David Agren in Mexico City

The GuardianTramp

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