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Elections authority wants to stipulate what AMLO cannot say during campaign

Agency seeks to create a level playing field for parties contesting elections

President López Obrador will likely have to choose his words very carefully during the coming months.

The National Electoral Institute (INE) is considering putting strict limits on what the president can say in the lead-up to the federal and state elections in June.

The general council of the electoral body was to meet Friday to discuss what López Obrador can and can’t speak about before voters go to the polls June 6 to renew the lower house of federal Congress and elect state lawmakers and governors.

The newspaper Reforma obtained a copy of an INE document that proposes prohibiting AMLO from speaking about 10 different things.

They are:

  • Funding arrangements of the various political parties;
  • the internal machinations of parties;
  • the candidates that will contest the elections;
  • issues related to the nomination and selection of candidates;
  • the different stages of the federal and state electoral processes;
  • the alliances some political parties have entered into;
  • parties’ political platforms;
  • the election campaign itself;
  • the electoral strategies of the various parties; and
  • political polls conducted in the lead-up to the election.

The aim of limiting what the president can speak about is to ensure that there is a level playing field for the parties contesting the elections.

In response to a complaint filed by the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) after López Obrador made critical remarks on December 23 about that party’s alliance with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN), the INE’s complaints commission ordered the president to abstain from making remarks about the upcoming elections to avoid violating equity between the participating parties.

However, the electoral tribunal subsequently said that such an order had to be approved by the INE’s general council, prompting today’s meeting.

The INE document obtained by Reforma said that it is “necessary, justified and urgent” to apply limits on López Obrador’s freedom of speech because if he continues to speaking about election-related issues the constitutionally-enshrined principles of electoral impartiality, neutrality and equity would be adversely affected.

The president’s comments “could favor or be detrimental to one or some of the political forces” contesting the elections, it said.

The ruling Morena party, which López Obrador founded after leaving the PRD, leads a coalition with a majority in both houses of Congress and is aiming to maintain the status quo in the Chamber of Deputies at the June 6 poll.

The PRI, PAN and PRD joined forces to increase their chances of stripping Morena of its majority. If they achieve that, they will be in a favorable position to scuttle the legislative agenda of the president and his administration.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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