With a split vote from the Supreme Court magistrates, the resolution of trial former presidents further divides and polarizes Mexicans.
CITY OF MEXICO (Times Media Mexico).— The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared the widespread consultation proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to be constitutional on Thursday, to decide whether to prosecute five former presidents the country for corruption, although ordered to modify the original question.
During a virtual session for the Covid-19 pandemic and in a tight vote, six magistrates defended that asking citizens about this matter is constitutional. At the same time, five considered it outside of the Constitution.
However, the magistrates agreed to review the referendum’s question that will be raised before the citizens to avoid conditioning the rights of the five former presidents.
“Do you agree that actions be carried out following the legal framework to clarify the political decisions made in the past by political actors and guarantee justice and rights of possible victims?”, Relates the question agreed by the magistrates of the SCJN.
This modifies the one raised by López Obrador: “Do you agree or disagree with the competent authorities, following the applicable laws and procedures, investigating and, where appropriate, sanctioning, the alleged commission of crimes by former presidents Carlos Salinas of Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Vicente Fox Quesada, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Enrique Peña Nieto before, during and after their respective administrations?”.
Against all odds and after a heated debate, most members of the Supreme Court rejected the bill proposed by magistrate Luis María Aguilar, who considered the consultation a “concert of unconstitutionalities.”
Aguilar warned that “it is not possible to hold a popular consultation that conditions the validity of human rights to what a group of the population decides.”
He considered that pointing out the former presidents violates their presumption of innocence and stressed that justice could not be submitted to consultation, since the authorities are obliged to report any crime.
However, most magistrates chose to have a less restrictive vision of the right of citizens to be consulted.
The president of the court, Arturo Zaldívar, who voted in favor of constitutionality, said that the Supreme Court had “a historic opportunity to give a truly democratic sense to the popular consultation mechanism.”
Magistrate Arturo Zaldívar defended a “more plural and inclusive democracy.” He stressed that the consultation result would not be binding so that justice would not be “at the mercy of public opinion.”
AMLO petition goes to the Supreme Court of Justice -SCJN-
Before the vote, President López Obrador spoke in favor of the consultation. AMLO asked the SCJN in his daily press conference not to deny “the people their right to participate.”
Simultaneously, the president and demanded: “that democracy be fully enforced in the country.”
Although AMLO is the leading promoter of this consultation – which would be held in 2021 – López Obrador said he would vote against prosecuting the former presidents.
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