President López Obrador will not attend a ceremony in the Senate to present the upper house’s highest award to a nonagenarian ruling party senator because he wants to avoid a protest against him.
The president said Monday he won’t attend Thursday’s presentation of the Belisario Domínguez medal to Morena party Senator Ifigenía Martínez – a noted politician, economist and academic – because Senator Lilly Téllez of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) has called on other lawmakers to “disrespect” him at the event.
Téllez, who left Morena to join the PAN last year, called for López Obrador to be “confronted” at the ceremony.
“The serial rapist of the constitution, President López Obrador, will come to the Senate next week,” she wrote in a Twitter post last Friday. “Confronting him is necessary.”
At his regular news conference on Monday, López Obrador said he was very happy that Martínez would receive the Belisario Domínguez medal, adding that he sent her a letter to congratulate her and inform her that he wouldn’t be presenting the award to her.
“I have the duty to inform you that I won’t be present at the ceremony because a legislator from the conservative bloc is calling for me to be disrespected,” he told the 91-year-old senator.
The president told reporters that Téllez has the right to express herself and protest but he has a responsibility to protect the prestige of the position he holds.
“I’m not going to go in order to be disrespected and … [to face] a scandal,” López Obrador said.
Interior Minister Adán Augusto López Hernández will represent the president at the ceremony.
Téllez has been a frequent critic of the president and his administration since leaving the party he founded in April 2020. She has been critical of López Obrador’s energy sector plans, his decision to invite the president of Cuba to Independence Day celebrations, his treatment of the media, his attitude towards the middle class and his failure to curtail violence in Sonora, her home state.
With reports from El Universal