The National Electoral Institute (INE) has upheld its decision to bar two Morena party candidates for governor from contesting the June 6 elections because they failed to report their pre-campaign spending.
The INE general council ratified the disqualification of both Félix Salgado, the ruling party’s candidate in Guerrero, and Raúl Morón, the Morena candidate in Michoacán.
Councilors met on Tuesday evening after the Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) ordered the INE to reassess its decision to reject the two men’s candidacies.
The decision defied the advice of President López Obrador, who suggested that Salgado and Morón be sanctioned but allowed to contest the elections.
On Wednesday he called the INE’s decision an “attack on democracy.” In a democracy, citizens have the freedom to choose their political representatives, but the INE ruling goes against that principle, he told reporters at his regular news conference.
“Why don’t they leave it to the people of Michoacán, the people of Guerrero, to decide? If they [the would-be candidates] are bad citizens, can’t the people grade them, fail them or elect them? … We’re facing an unprecedented action; nothing like this has happened before,” López Obrador said.
“If we’re taking the first steps to establish an authentic democracy, and we’re going to strike a blow to it in this way, what I said is not an exaggeration: it’s an attack on democracy.”
The president said Tuesday that he didn’t have confidence in the INE in its current form and will present an initiative after this year’s elections to reform it to ensure that it is “truly autonomous and independent.”
INE president Lorenzo Córdova said at Tuesday’s council meeting that the institute was obliged to act in accordance with the law in determining the punishments that should apply to the two would-be candidates for governor. They could have avoided their candidacies being deregistered if they had complied with the law that required them to report their spending, he said.
Morena’s representative to the INE, Sergio Gutiérrez Luna, accused Córdova of playing a “dirty game” that benefits opposition parties.
Both Salgado, an accused rapist who this week threatened to stop the elections from happening in Guerrero if he isn’t allowed to run, and Morón told supporters gathered outside the INE’s Mexico City headquarters that they would again challenge the decisions against them before the electoral tribunal.
Salgado, who also threatened to track down INE councilors if they didn’t reinstate his candidacy, and Morón both called the latest rulings “arbitrary.”
“The National Electoral Institute again issued an illegal, arbitrary and disproportionate ruling that violates the political-electoral rights of the residents of Michoacán,” the latter said.
Morena party national president Mario Delgado said legal action will be launched against the decision to bar Salgado and Morón from contesting the elections, which will renew the entire lower house of federal Congress. Governors will also be elected in 15 states.
“We’re going to challenge this robbery that we’ve just seen tonight,” Delgado said.
“… In these critical moments, we must always remember the teachings of López Obrador. He also suffered attacks, lies and robberies,” Delgado said, adding that the president — who claimed that electoral fraud robbed him of the 2006 and 2012 presidential elections — always challenged decisions against him peacefully and in accordance with the law.