The Court of Mexico endorsed the holding of a referendum to try the former presidents

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It was raised by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. It is to investigate its predecessors, since 1988.

The Supreme Court of Mexico endorsed this Thursday the holding of a referendum raised by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to decide the prosecution of five former Mexican presidents, according to a vote of his magistrates.

The proposal was approved by six of the 11 members of the highest court and proposes to investigate and “where appropriate” punish former presidents Carlos Salinas (1988-1994), Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000), Vicente Fox (2000-2006), Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018).

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, while five considered it outside the Constitution.

However, the magistrates agreed review the referendum question that will be raised before the public in order to avoid conditioning the rights of the five former presidents.

Against all odds, the Supreme Court thus endorsed the initiative of López Obrador, who assumed power in 2018 with a fierce speech against the corruption of previous governments and proposed that citizens choose whether the current government should investigate and, if applicable, bring to trial to the former presidents.

After a heated debate, the majority of members of the Court rejected the project 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 cannot be consulted, given that the authorities are “required” to report any crime.

However, the majority of magistrates chose to have a vision less restrictive of the right 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.”

Defended a “more plural and inclusive democracy” and he stressed that the result of the consultation would not be binding, so that justice would not be “at the mercy of public opinion.”

Before the vote, President López Obrador asked the Supreme Court at a press conference not to deny “the people their right to participate” and demanded “that democracy be fully enforced in the country.”

“Who are human rights violated, guarantees?If the question is very clear, it is that processes are carried out in accordance with the law, that there is no violation of human rights, “said the president, of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena).

The question posed says: “Do you agree or disagree with the competent authorities, in accordance with the applicable laws and procedures, investigating, and where appropriate sanctioning, the alleged commission of crimes by former presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Vicente Fox Quesada, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Enrique Peña Nieto before, during and after their respective administrations? “.

Although the president is the main promoter of this consultation – to be held in 2021 – supported by some two million citizen signatures, López Obrador said he would vote against prosecuting them because he wants to avoid “revenge.”

Source: AFP and EFE

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