In an opinion piece, journalist Hildegard Stausberg considers that next Sunday’s elections have been reduced to a political referendum on the president, “exactly what he wanted.”
First it was The Economist, then Le Monde and now it is the German newspaper Die Welt that criticized the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
In his opinion, the election on Sunday, June 6 “is a kind of referendum on the president,” who, he added, “governs in an increasingly autocratic way.”
The opinion piece written by journalist Hildegard Stausberg, dated May 31 and entitled “This messianism is incompatible with democracy,” noted:
“In view of the large regional differences in this country, five times the size of Germany, one would expect a wide range of different political forces. In fact, however, these elections have been reduced to a political referendum on President López Obrador, whom his supporters affectionately call ‘AMLO.’
After referring to Sunday’s election where around 20,000 political positions will be elected: 500 congressmen, 15 governorships and around 1,000 state deputies, almost 2,000 mayors and 14,000 councilors, the Die Welt journalist considered that this kind of referendum “ It is exactly what the president wanted ”.
He pointed out that López Obrador acts according to a clear friend-enemy scheme: either you are completely in his favor or completely against him, and treating his political opponent with respect “is not his thing” because “AMLO is a master of painting. in black and white, of the sharp yes or no, of the implacable confrontation ”.
He continued: “He likes to affirm that Mexico is not advancing through democratic electoral processes, but through permanent social mobilization.”
From his perspective, the elections paved the way “for this rebel and political rebel from the insignificant state of Tabasco.” She recalled that “her original political home” was the state PRI that was established, according to her, “as an anchor of stability after the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution in the late 1920s.”
He noted that López Obrador “feels as committed to his statistical creed as he is to his authoritarian understanding of the state that sponsors Mexicans.”
He commented that when the PRI “cautiously” allowed more democracy in the 1980s, “AMLO walked away from it.” 30 years later he arrived with his own party which he called the National Regeneration Movement, although it is only registered as Morena.
“Since then he has been using this in an almost messianic madness to transform Mexico into a ‘fourth transformation.’ The first ‘transformation’ for him was independence from Spain, the second was the period of liberal reform in the mid-19th century, the third the post-1911 revolution. With his claim of a ‘Fourth Transformation’, AMLO deftly ascends to another , historically distant one level, well above ‘normal’ presidents ”.
When questioning how López Obrador has used the first half of his six-year term, the Die Welt writer answered that by dividing Mexico “clearly” into two blocks: that of good people and bad rich people and, in her opinion, only he could protect people and thus justify the “unprecedented” concentration of all decision-making on itself.
He indicated that the president is trying to completely undermine what he called “independent forces” and referred to the National Electoral Institute (INE), which “has been discredited” as an institution “and is about to break down.”
In addition, he criticized that the figures “are being embellished” with respect to the last direct investment in the first quarter of the year.
“AMLO’s Secretary of Economy, Tatiana Clouthier, stated that they had increased enormously compared to the previous year. The central bank corrected this shortly after and spoke of a 30 percent drop. AMLO’s revenge came quickly and he announced that he would no longer extend the term of the central bank governor, which expires at the end of the year ”.
He mentioned that there has been a “thorn in the tooth” in the fact that the central bank uses the surpluses to pay external debts, according to its statutes, instead of filling the government coffers as AMLO wishes.
“AMLO has frankly archaic ideas about energy policy. While sunny Mexico’s thousands of miles of coastline could lead the way in alternative energy, the president has announced the purchase of a refinery in Texas. Half belongs to Mexicans, but he wants to buy the other half from Royal Dutch Shell for 600 million, and that does not include the company’s debt of one billion, “he added.
He questioned that “the greens of Mexico” do not speak. He accused them of having formed a coalition with AMLO and Morena, and that is why they are silent. “Even at the international level, such decisions do not provoke protests. This is surprising, “he said and compared” the great response “to the controversial environmental policy of” right-wing populist president Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. “
He called AMLO a “left-wing populist,” which, he said, has protected him so far.
“Under his command, the armed forces have become a state within a state and are involved in the fight against drugs. It can already be said that the president’s tactic of inducing organized crime to be more accommodating by intervening less harshly has failed. Almost 150 politicians and officials have been assassinated since the beginning of the year. The political scientist Edgardo Buscaglia sees Mexico on the way to a failed state with regard to security issues ”.
In an intermediate head titled: “Opposition parties join forces”, referring to the PRI and the PAN with the alliance “Va por México”, the Die Welt article considered that “the conservative PAN” can win governorships in the center of the country , which considered, along with Nuevo León, the economic heart of the country.
“This is where the voodoo authoritarianism of the president meets real resistance, where his retrograde style of government is rejected, as well as his political messages from the distant past. It is precisely there where the close economic ties between Mexico and the United States are omnipresent. Because the economic alliance, to which Canada also belongs, has created its own dynamic, from which Mexicans benefit enormously.
“However, so far not all social classes. And from the great reservoir of those who feel abandoned, support for AMLO is fed. Consequently, the more educated people, the stronger the rejection of the president, ”he stated in the article .
He also referred to the health crisis due to the covid-19 pandemic and recalled when in a morning conference he recommended wearing an amulet, when almost 250,000 Mexicans have died from this disease.
“Unofficial estimates speak of more than half a million. Last year, the Mexican economy contracted 8.5 percent. More than a million companies, mostly small, have given up. Ten million people fell below the poverty line again. It will be several years before the growth impulses of the time before COVID-19 can be achieved again, ”added the Die Welt text.
After taking office, AMLO had increased minimum wages and pensions to stimulate economic growth, but now, he foresaw, he would have to rely more on a new impulse through foreign investment, “a perfectly conceivable scenario in view of the growing tensions between China and the United States, “he said.
And he cited “the president’s critics,” who, he said, fear he will use the second half of his constitutionally limited six-year term to run for re-election.
In this context, he quotes the historian Enrique Krauze: “His messianism is simply incompatible with democracy.”