Regulator chief García and López Obrador. Regulator chief García and López Obrador.

Energy regulator chief quits but AMLO denies he was pressured

García had criticized López Obrador's candidates for positions on the commission's governing body

President López Obrador today denied that the head of Mexico’s energy regulator — of whom the president was critical earlier this year — was pressured to quit.

Guillermo García Alcocer, president of the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), announced his resignation yesterday, writing in a letter to the Senate that “the maximum decision-making authority of the commission, the governing body, today has a new composition with a majority vision different to mine.”

He will officially step down on June 15.

López Obrador told reporters at his morning press conference that his government didn’t make any attempt to pressure García to quit.

However, he added that any officials who don’t share his administration’s vision for the country should – in an “act of honesty” – seek alternative employment.

“What’s not right is not to agree with the new project for the nation but to stay [in the government] just for the [perks of the] position,” López Obrador said.

In February, the president leveled a conflict of interest accusation at García but initially didn’t provide any evidence to support his claim.

Days later, Public Administration Secretary Irma Sandoval elaborated on the allegation, stating that a contract had been found for the transportation of natural gas that was awarded to a company at which a family member of García works. The CRE president has denied any wrongdoing.

Prior to López Obrador’s accusation, García had been critical of the candidates proposed by the president to fill four positions on the governing body of the CRE, stating that they lacked expertise in the electricity sector.

In his resignation letter, García said that “with my departure, I want to allow the [energy] sector to continue developing with the adjustments that are required . . . so that the common goal is reached: a dynamic energy sector with public and private participants, which sets the base for national development.”

López Obrador said he will present a short list of candidates to replace García this week and that he will also propose appointments to Pemex and Federal Electricity Commission councils.

The president said that his nominees will be “honest, nationalist . . . truly independent and close to the people.”

Critics of the government, including his former party, have accused López Obrador of attempting to concentrate his power by handpicking candidates to fill roles on independent government institutions.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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