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Morena party head Mario Delgado In Mexico City on Monday, Morena president Mario Delgado said the ad's authors resent no longer having access to 'privileges' as under previous administrations.

430 intellectuals call for voting against Morena ‘to defend democracy and freedom’

Ad calls for citizens to 'vote strategically' for candidates so as curb the control held by the ruling party

Some 430 intellectuals, businesspeople and other prominent Mexicans have put their name to a full-page newspaper advertisement calling on citizens to vote against the ruling Morena party at the municipal, state and federal elections this Sunday.

Published Monday in the Reforma and El Universal newspapers under the title “Manifesto for the republic, democracy and freedoms,” the advertisement-cum-open letter declared that Mexico is at a crucial time in the life of the nation due to President López Obrador’s actions in the 2 1/2 years since he took office.

Mexico is torn “between democracy and authoritarianism, between freedoms and the abuse of power, between knowledge and demagoguery, between responsibility and caprice, between federalism and centralism, between the division of powers and an autocratic presidency, between the path of institutions and the discretion of one sole will,” the ad said.

“It’s up to the citizens to tilt the scales,” it said, adding that the upcoming elections are important because Mexicans will have the opportunity to do just that.

After running through a laundry list of problems the authors said plague the country — among which they cited poverty, inequality, violence, medicine shortages, a lack of legal certainty, an unfriendly environment for investors and government disrespect for the women’s movement — the ad said that putting an end to “institutional decomposition and [governmental] improvisation” is urgent.

Francisco Valdes Ugalde
Francisco Valdés Ugalde, one of the authors of the ad published in El Universal and Reforma newspapers. file photo

It also said it was urgent “to boost the impartiality of the public service and place the citizen at the center of political action; to defend the importance of autonomous [government] organizations … and to respect the work of civil society organizations, taking advantage of their contributions in order to improve public policies … and combat bad practices.”

Achieving this “requires stopping the establishment of an autocracy and respecting pluralism as a means to transform Mexico,” said the ad, which was submitted for publication by political scientist Francisco Valdés Ugalde and sociologist Roger Bartra and endorsed by people such as historian Enrique Krauze, businessman Claudio X. González, former foreign minister Jorge Castañeda and ex-immigration chief Tonatiuh Guillén.

“Let’s be clear: in order to correct the path, we need to defeat the pro-government coalition of Morena and its satellite parties at the ballot box,” it said.

“It’s not about returning to the undesirable situation prior to the present administration, in which there were abuses, corruption and frivolity, but rather re-channeling changes toward the deepening of democracy and the strengthening of transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation,” the advertisement said.

The ad called for citizens to “vote strategically” and opt for more competitive candidates “so that the opposition vote is not diluted.”

“It’s time to join forces. … This election is not the end of the road, but it’s fundamental — not just to advance in the common aim to build a viable and attractive alternative in the face of a populist and authoritarian regression but also to stop the political, economic and institutional deterioration of the country. Today a free vote can still determine the result, but if the opportunity of this [electoral] process is wasted, maybe it won’t be the same at the next election. You have the power; exercise it with intelligence on June 6.”

roger bartra
Roger Bartra, the other author of the open letter urging citizens to vote against the Morena party at the upcoming June 6 election. File photo

Mario Delgado, leader of the Morena party, dismissed the importance of the ad and told El Financiero that the group behind the open letter only wished to regain access to millions in public resources and to what he referred to as their privileges.

“What bothers them is the loss of their privileges and legitimacy in the face of a country that no longer believes them and has already changed,” he said, adding that he was sure that the people’s support for Morena’s transformation of Mexico would be reflected in the June 6 election results.

The publication of the ad came just days after the British newspaper The Economist published an editorial advising Mexicans to vote against López Obrador’s Morena party. López Obrador dismissed the piece as “very propagandistic.”

Valdés and Bartra, the academics who submitted the ad, previously published a statement that accused President López Obrador of sowing “hatred and division” among Mexicans. That document, published online last September, was endorsed by more than 650 academics, journalists, poets, scientists, artists, writers, filmmakers and other intellectuals.

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