Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Mayhem erupts in Nuevo León Congress

In scenes some compared to the 2021 attack on the United States Capitol building, a group of more than 100 Citizens Movement (MC) party supporters stormed the Nuevo León state Congress on Wednesday, but they couldn’t stop lawmakers from naming an interim governor with ties to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Video footage shows the mob forcing their way through a locked door before making their way to the floor of Congress, where lawmakers were discussing the appointment of an interim governor to replace Samuel García while he is on leave to campaign for the presidency on an MC ticket.

Prominent journalist Pascal Beltrán del Río was among numerous people who compared the MC supporters forced entry to the Congress to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building by supporters of former U.S. president Donald Trump.

In Monterrey on Wednesday, there were scuffles on the floor of Congress and a smoke bomb detonated amid the commotion. Chanting in unison, the MC supporters asserted that lawmakers with the PRI and the National Action Party (PAN) were corrupt.

The Reforma newspaper reported that they were irked because only PRI and PAN supporters had been allowed into the Congress gallery to observe the proceedings.

However, the main cause of their anger was that the PRI and the PAN conspired to use their numbers in the Nuevo León Congress to appoint an interim governor sympathetic to their political agenda, rather than a person who would provide continuity to the MC government García has led since taking office in October 2021.

Samuel García campaigning
Samuel García took leave of his post as governor to launch a campaign for 2024, but returned as governor on Tuesday until Saturday. (Samuel García/X)

The Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) acknowledged that the Congress has the power to name an interim governor, but ruled that it must appoint an MC representative.

The MC nominated four possible interim governors, according to García, but PRI and PAN lawmakers voted to appoint Luis Enrique Orozco, who stepped down as deputy attorney general in Nuevo León to assume the position.

It was the second time that PRI and PAN deputies appointed a replacement for García as they named José Arturo Salinas Garza, president of the Superior Court of Justice of Nuevo León, as interim governor in October, but the TEPJF subsequently ruled he was ineligible.

The session during which Wednesday’s vote took place was able to proceed as some 100 police officers moved into the Congress building to restore peace after the disruption caused by the MC supporters. There were no reports of any arrests of the men and women who overran the Congress.

Nuevo León Congress swears in interim governor
The interim governor was sworn in by PAN and PRI party lawmakers on Wednesday. (Cuartoscuro)

Orozco, who was comptroller in the 2015-18 Monterrey municipal government led by PRI mayor Adrián de la Garza, was sworn in as interim governor on Wednesday night, although his tenure won’t officially commence until Saturday, provided MC doesn’t successfully challenge his appointment.

Senator Dante Delgado, the MC national leader, said on the X social media platform that “what the PRI and the PAN did today in the Nuevo León Congress is an act of democratic regression and an assault on legality.”

“They’re trying to derail a legitimate [political] project, endorsed by the majority of Nuevo León residents, and we’re not going to allow it. Their only aim is to generate a crisis in order to remove our presidential candidate from the contest,” he wrote.

Delgado – who attempted to reach an agreement with the PRI and the PAN for the appointment of a mutually acceptable replacement for García – asserted that Orozco is “ineligible” to be interim governor and “of proven ineptitude.”

“We’re not going to allow the old political powerbrokers to impose as interim governor – with vandalistic, illegal and anti-democratic acts – an individual who arrived at the legislative chamber surrounded by armed people,” he said, claiming that Orozco’s aim was to “send a message of intimidation and violence to the people of Nuevo León.”

After he was sworn in, the soon-to-be interim governor told reporters that “it’s time to think of the well-being of all Nuevo León citizens.”

Dante Delgado, the Citizens Movement party president. (Andrea Murcia/Cuartoscuro)

“The current situation demands the best of us. We must return to this state the governability that our beloved Nuevo León deserves,” Orozco said.

He also said he would seek dialogue with García, although it appears unlikely that the governor will be willing to speak with him.

García – who vacated his position as governor for just over a week before reassuming it on Tuesday – said on X on Thursday that “the real danger” for Mexico is the PRIAN, a hybrid derogatory acronym for the PRI and the PAN, which were formerly political rivals but are now both part of the Broad Front for Mexico (FAM) opposition alliance, which also includes the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

“Yesterday they arrived [to Congress] with armed people to impose an illegal governor on Nuevo León,” García wrote.

In the same post, the 35-year-old presidential pre-candidate for the MC responded to a claim from businessman and FAM supporter Claudio X. González that he is a “danger” to Mexico.

“Yes I am a danger, for the PRIAN,” García wrote.

Polls show that he is in a distant third place in the contest to secure the presidency at the June 2, 2024 election.

The results of a recent poll conducted for the El Universal newspaper showed that Claudia Sheinbaum had 48% support, while 24% of respondents nominated Xóchitl Gálvez as their preferred choice, and just 8% opted for García.

With reports from Reforma and El País

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