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US support for protests irks Mexico President Lopez Obrador

March 1, 2023

Tens of thousands of Mexicans marched against the president's overhaul of the electoral commission, which the US State Department welcomed as a "great debate on electoral reforms."

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at a press conference
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accused the United States of meddling in Mexico's internal affairsImage: Alfredo Estrella/AFP

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accused the United States of meddling in his country's internal affairs on Tuesday, a day after the US State Department hailed mass protests against his plan to shrink the country's electoral commission.

"As is their bad habit, [the United States] always interferes in matters that don't concern them," Lopez Obrador said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"There's currently more democracy in Mexico than in the United States," he added.

Tens of thousands of Mexicans marched on Sunday to protest Lopez Obrador's overhaul of Mexico's National Electoral Institute (INE), which was approved by the country's Congress last week. Critics see it as a threat to democracy ahead of the 2024 polls.

The president has accused the INE of wasting money and alleges that it endorsed fraud during his unsuccessful presidential bids in 2006 and 2012.

What did the US State Department say?

Lopez Obrador was responding to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who said on Monday that Washington "supports independent, well-resourced electoral institutions that strengthen democratic processes and the rule of law."

"In Mexico, we see a great debate on electoral reforms," Price said. "We believe that a well-resourced, independent electoral system and respect for judicial independence support healthy democracy."

Lopez Obrador said Washington should instead focus on "what's happening in Peru" and denounced US support for the government there of President Dina Boluarte, who he called "coup plotters who trampled on freedoms and democracy in that country."

zc/jsi (Reuters, AFP)