President López Obrador proposes referendum to launch probe against Mexican ex-presidents

López Obrador explained the reasons that motivated him to propose the referendum

President López Obrador proposes referendum to launch probe against Mexican ex-presidents
President López Obrador has taken aim at previous administrations - Photo: Agustín Salinas/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/09/2020 15:28 Newsroom Mexico City Pedro Villa y Caña, Alberto Morales, Perla Miranda, Juan Arvizu Actualizada 15:44

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President Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposed a referendum, which must be approved by Congress, to decide whether or not authorities take legal action against five former Mexican presidents: Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Vicente Fox Quesada, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, and Enrique Peña Nieto.

President López Obrador has taken aim at previous administrations and often discusses major corruption cases. 

López Obrador announced his decision during his daily news conference, where he signed the document and explained he would send the bill to the Senate by 11 am.  

In previous weeks, Mexicans launched a movement to collect signatures and demand a referendum against ex-presidents. The President said these citizens collected around 2 million signatures. 

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The President previously said that if citizens didn’t collect 1,800,000 signatures, he would propose the referendum to senators. 
 
Meanwhile, parties like the PAN and PRI will likely oppose the referendum.

Five ex-presidents come under fire

During his news conference, López Obrador explained the reasons that motivated him to propose the referendum. 

Regarding Carlos Salinas de Gortari, President López Obrador said inequality in the country reached an alarming surge during his administration, between 1988 and 1994. He added that Carlos Salinas gave away national companies to national and international investors.
 
The Mexican President has said Ernesto Zedillo, who governed Mexico from 1994 to 2000, continued the policies implemented by Salinas de Gortari. He has also mentioned the “Fobaproa” case and said Mexico will finish paying that debt until 2070. 
 
López Obrador said Vicente Fox meddled the 2006 election to benefit Felipe Calderón and prevent him from becoming president. 

Recommended: Will Mexico take legal action against ex-presidents?
 
In the case of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, 2006-2012, López Obrador said Calderón launched a war on drugs that exacerbated violence and resulted in criminal organizations controlling vast areas. He has also mentioned Genaro García Luna, appointed as the Security Minister by Calderón, who is currently in a U.S. prison after being accused of taking bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel. 

Regarding Enrique Peña Nieto, his predecessor, President López Obrador has said the PRI used irregular funds during the 2012 presidential campaign. He has also mentioned his ties to Emilio Lozoya Austin, who recently said Peña Nieto used Odebrecht bribes to fund his campaign. Furthermore, Lozoya has also said the Peña Nieto administration bribed opposition lawmakers so they would approve a series of reforms. 

López Obrador’s petition

EL UNIVERSAL obtained a copy of the document López Obrador submitted to the Senate. The arguments used by the President to push for the referendum are: 

1. Between 1988 and 2018, Mexico witnessed the disproportionate concentration of wealth, embezzlement, privatization of public goods, widespread corruption, fraudulent elections, human rights violations, and impunity.

2. The implementation of political and economic policies that are elitist, anti-democratic, anti-national, and anti-popular. The human, social, and national disasters Mexico registered in the last 30 years were there result of the actions of those who governed the country.

3. Neoliberalism resulted in thousands of deaths, enforced disappearances, as well as a surge in poverty, inequality, marginalization, among other issues. 
 
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