Veracruz Attorney General Jorge Winckler promised to fight a decision by a commission of the state Congress to suspend him temporarily from office on Tuesday, an action he called “a federal crime.”
“This decision is illegal any way you look at it, it violates the constitution and the law of Veracruz,” he said. “I will use every legal resource available to defend myself. Not doing so would be cowardly.”
The permanent commission, which is led by deputies from the Morena party, voted to suspend Winckler because the attorney general had not taken required recertification tests, an accusation denied by Winckler.
“My evaluations are up to date, I passed the control and confidence test,” he said. “If some people don’t want to understand that, they didn’t have the courtesy to ask for the documents. If they want more proof, or if they want to do an investigation, I’ve never hidden anything, I’m not a criminal.”
Winckler was replaced by Verónica Hernández Giadáns, who was sworn in later on Tuesday.
In a joint statement, deputies with the opposition National Action Party (PAN) blasted the decision to suspend Winckler, calling it an undemocratic action by Morena.
“Morena violated the rule of law in Veracruz, unconstitutionally authorizing a motion to remove Attorney General Jorge Winckler from office,” they said.
Winckler was appointed in late 2016 by then-governor Miguel Ángel Yunes, a member of the PAN and a personal friend of the attorney general.
Since Morena Governor Cuitláhuac García took office in 2018, Winckler has been a target for criticism by the governor and President López Obrador.
The conflict between the two officials boiled over after an attack on a bar in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, on August 27 which killed 30 people. Governor García accused the Attorney General’s Office of having arrested and released one of the perpetrators before the attack. Winckler said the arrest and release had been the responsibility of the federal government.