The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, asked the magistrates of the Electoral Court (TEPJF) to resign and make way for a constitutional reform to clean up the highest electoral judicial body of the country.
During his morning press conference on Friday, August 6, which was held during his a visit to the state of Baja California Sur, President López Obrador declared that the same thing should occur with the National Electoral Institute (INE), which also requires a purge to end with its corruption.
AMLO remarked that the electoral tribunal was constituted in such a way that only the magistrates of the tribunal can solve the ongoing crisis. It is very difficult for the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Arturo Zaldívar, to intervene in the matter, because the TEPJF is an—within quotes—”autonomous institution,” and it was granted such a strong institutional autonomy for protecting the interests of the right-wing National Action Party (PAN) and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which held administrative power for decades.
“The PRI and the PAN nominated the magistrates [of the electoral tribunal], and now both should come out and explain why they nominated them, with such lack of integrity and principles, and what is happening at this moment,” demanded the president. “That is why I say again that all the ministers should resign, and political parties should no longer be allowed to interfere [in the tribunal].”
AMLO made these statements in reference to the ongoing crisis in the TEPJF, where the magistrates of the tribunal have removed José Luis Vargas Valdez who was the head of the institution, and elected Reyes Rodríguez Mondragón for the post. There is no legal statute that could allow the magistrates to do such a thing. Vargas Valdez has been allegedly linked to corruption cases in the tribunal; however, Rodríguez Mondragón has close ties to the right-wing former president Felipe Calderón. In addition, Rodríguez Mondragón had posted a Tweet on October 5, 2020, wishing for López Obrador’s death. All this highlights that the TEPJF is comprised of corrupt and undesirable individuals who have been detrimental to Mexico’s electoral processes.
López Obrador declared that the PRI and PAN were to blame for this situation since they were the ones that had appointed the magistrates. Moreover “they [PAN, PRI] extended the term in office of all the magistrates. And now that Zaldívar’s mandate as head of the Supreme Court has been extended, they complain that this is unconstitutional. They have never denounced anything about their seven electoral court magistrates. Now these magistrates are meeting the president of the Supreme Court, asking for his support for one or the other group in conflict, but Zaldívar, a man of integrity, lacks power to intervene, since they took it away from him. Zaldívar does not have constitutional power to do anything.”
President López Obrador asserted that the former ruling parties, PRI and PAN, had conceived such a system in order to dominate the administration of electoral justice.
“Hopefully,” expressed the Mexican president, “this will get fixed; but the best thing would be for all the magistrates to resign and clean up that body, that institution; and that an electoral reform takes place, and that the same happens with the INE, which must also be cleaned up of its corruption and submission to right-wing parties, as we have warned for years now.”
Featured image: President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, during his morning press conference. Photo: EFE
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