“There is currently more democracy in Mexico than in the United States,” says Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has rebuked a Washington statement that appeared to criticize a reform law in his country and accused the United States of interfering in the affairs of its neighbour.
Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that the US always meddles “in matters that do not concern it”.
A day earlier, the US State Department weighed in on a bill that would cut the budget for Mexico’s independent electoral agency. Thousands had gathered in Mexico City on Sunday to reject the legislation, saying it undermines democracy and weakens electoral integrity.
Washington did not explicitly criticize the measure, but said it supports “independent, well-equipped electoral institutions that strengthen democratic processes and the rule of law.”
The US comments angered Lopez Obrador, who had defended the electoral reform bill as an attempt to cut costs for taxpayers. After narrowly losing his first presidential bid in 2006, Lopez Obrador made allegations of vote fraud, and has since criticized Mexico’s election bureau.
“There is more democracy in Mexico right now than in the United States,” he said Tuesday.
Mexican presidents are constitutionally limited to six-year terms, so Lopez Obrador will not seek re-election in next year’s presidential election, although his left-wing Morena party is considered one of the frontrunners.
The US State Department also stressed on Monday the importance of “respect for the independence of the judiciary” in a “healthy democracy”. Lopez Obrador has previously criticized Mexico’s judiciary, accusing members of the opposition of threatening the country’s justice system.
“Today in Mexico we are seeing a major debate on electoral reform over the independence of electoral and judicial institutions, illustrating Mexico’s vibrant democracy,” the foreign ministry said Monday. “We respect the sovereignty of Mexico.”
Later in the day, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US views Mexico as an “equal partner,” adding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is “very focused on the erosion of democracy around the world.” .
Mexico’s president said on Tuesday that instead of commenting on Mexico, Washington should “deal with what’s happening in Peru.”
He denounced what he called US support for “the coup plotters who trample on freedoms and democracy in that country.”
Lopez Obrador is an outspoken supporter of Peru’s former leftist president, Pedro Castillo, who was removed from office by the legislature late last year and replaced by his then vice president, Dina Boluarte, after he attempted to dissolve Congress.
Boluarte — who has faced deadly protests against her government in recent weeks — has accused Lopez Obrador of “unacceptable” interference in her country’s affairs after questioning the legitimacy of her government.
In December, Washington acknowledged and promised to cooperate with the Boluarte administration.
“The United States looks forward to working closely with President Boluarte on shared goals and values related to democracy, human rights, security, anti-corruption and economic prosperity,” the State Department said after a phone call between Blinken and the Peruvian president last year. .