President López Obrador has called on citizens to report candidates using public money or resources from organized crime to fund their political campaigns.
Voters will go to the polls on June 6 to elect municipal, state and federal representatives, including many mayors, governors in 15 states and 500 lower house federal deputies.
“A candidate using money from the public budget, organized crime or white-collar crime should be reported because unfortunately this exists,” López Obrador said at an event in Tlaltenango, Zacatecas, on Sunday.
The president said that a “national agreement for democracy” put forward by the federal government and supported by 25 state governors as of Monday morning will help to ensure that candidates’ campaigns are not improperly funded.
“What is this agreement for? … So that budget money is not used in political campaigns. The budget is the people’s money, everyone’s money, it doesn’t belong to a party. The commitment is that the municipal, state and federal budgets not be used to assist candidates,” López Obrador said.
He noted that electoral fraud is now considered a serious crime and that anyone found guilty faces jail time.
“It’s different now, it’s now in the constitution and in the laws that the electoral prosecutor can put on trial anyone who doesn’t respect the will of the people, and the electoral criminal will go to jail … without the right to bail. This isn’t well known but once it begins to be applied it will be known that it’s serious,” said López Obrador, who claims that electoral fraud cost him an election for governor in Tabasco in 1994 and successive presidential elections in 2006 and 2012.
“Electoral fraud has done a lot of damage to us in the country and we need there to be an authentic, true democracy,” he said.
The president also said that the federal government will provide protection to candidates in parts of Mexico where criminal groups seek to influence the political process.
“There are regions where they decide who the candidate should be, who will be mayor, and they threaten the other candidates,” López Obrador said.
“That cannot be allowed to go on. In regions where this practice is usual we’re going to protect all the candidates so that it is the people who freely choose [their representatives],” he said.
Appearing alongside López Obrador at the event, Zacatecas Governor Alejandro Tello said his government would support the agreement for democracy and ensure that fair elections are held in the state.
“Today we are immersed in an electoral process, … my government will be respectful of the law and generate impartial and equal conditions for all candidates running for the different representative positions. I join the national agreement in favor of democracy,” he said.
López Obrador said Monday morning that 25 state leaders including Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum had indicated their support for the agreement. He urged governors last Tuesday to join the pact, saying it was needed to ensure clean elections and political campaigns across the country.
Source: Milenio (sp)