Morena does not forget the legislative defeat of the electrical reform, one of the priorities of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The government party has filed this Tuesday before the Attorney General of the Republic a complaint for “treason against the homeland” against the opposition deputies who rejected the initiative. According to Morena, legislators “privileged transnational companies over national sovereignty.” The attempt to judicialize what was a democratic vote has little legal scope, according to the jurists. However, the formation wants to use it as a whip in the middle of the campaign for the state elections on June 5. The party has filed a second complaint for corruption against the opposition candidate for governor of Aguascalientes.
The president of Morena, Mario Delgado, has appeared before the Prosecutor’s Office with lots of boxes, presumably full of 1.7 million signatures from citizens who support the complaint. “It was a vote that has completely exposed them as traitors to the country,” he declared, about the legislators who voted against the reform. “The opposition to the reform and to the president made our adversaries believe that they were doing Mexico good. But in reality they have done the work for others, for foreign companies and the governments that support them.”
Morena’s legal team bases the complaint on article 123 of the federal criminal code, which provides prison sentences of five to forty years for Mexicans who commit any of the 14 cases considered “treason.” Among these, there is the performance of “acts against the independence, sovereignty or integrity of the Mexican Nation with the purpose of subjecting it to a foreign person, group or Government.” Morena’s lawyer, Mario Llergo, has cited this assumption as the starting point of the complaint. “We believe that the elements of treason against the fatherland are configured,” he said.
Morena’s complaint has been dismissed as absurd by several jurists. Legislators enjoy inviolability for the opinions they express during the exercise of their office. In addition, it is not clear how the party intends to demonstrate the link of the opposition vote with foreign companies or governments. The former Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice José Ramón Cossío considered the options of taking 223 deputies to court “extremely restricted” in an opinion column published by this newspaper. “The individual link of the specific actions with a foreign government or group would have to be proven to obtain the vote or, even more complex, the existence of a direct and autonomous interest in that sense,” he wrote.
Faced with the lack of a legal path for the complaint, Morena does not hide her intention to extract electoral juice from it. The party seeks to consolidate its territorial expansion in the elections that are held on Sunday in six states of the country. The formation starts as the clear favorite in four of them, but does not give up fighting in the other two against a weakened opposition. During the appearance this Tuesday, Delgado announced a corruption complaint against Teresa Jiménez, the PAN candidate for governor of Aguascalientes, the state where a victory for Morena looks less likely.
With the constitutional reform, the president intended to reverse the liberalization of electricity generation, which began in the 1990s. The initiative proposed to limit private participation in the sector to a maximum of 46% and give the Federal Electricity Commission 54 remaining %, as well as cancel all current permits signed by private energy companies. The reform was criticized by environmental and opposition groups considering that it would cause an increase in polluting emissions and an increase in electricity prices. The reform was overturned in the Chamber of Deputies in mid-April after failing to achieve a two-thirds qualified majority.
The rejection of the reform was the first major parliamentary defeat of this government and it made him feel bad. Shortly after the vote, Morena launched a media campaign to portray opposition lawmakers as “traitors to the fatherland.” In social networks, the party spread individual bulletins with the image, the names and surnames of each one of the deputies who voted against. The legislators attacked denounced a campaign of harassment and some of them filed complaints with the Prosecutor’s Office.
Morena’s complaint sets a dangerous precedent. In his column for this newspaper, Cossío warned that the group could repeat the accusation of treason against anyone who opposed a government proposal. “All this has been started to threaten from now on those who intend not to submit to the vote on the constitutional reform initiatives that the president himself has announced. Are those who refuse to increase the militarization of the country going to be charged with treason?” he wondered.
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