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  • View of the Lower House, Mexico City, Mexico, September 2, 2020.

    View of the Lower House, Mexico City, Mexico, September 2, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @AristeguiOnline

Published 3 September 2020
Opinion

The 1857 Constitution granted immunity to former presidents for the first time.

Mexico’s Lower House Wednesday approved a constitutional reform that, if supported by the Senate, would allow ex-presidents to be removed from their immunity and tried for corruption.

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The constitutional reform received 420 votes in favor, 15 abstentions, and no vote against. This possible amendment will be passed on to the Senate, which will have the last word to allow former presidents to be tried for treason, corruption, electoral crimes, or other crimes for which any Mexican citizen can currently be tried.

National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) Senator Mario Delgado stated that excessive protections for the presidential function have allowed presidents to break the law and remain in impunity after they leave the office.

If all the reform process is successfully completed, former presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) could be tried for alleged cases of corruption and bribes.

Before taking office, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) promised to fight corruption in his country. As part of this task, he proposed the elimination of the legal immunity that favors former presidents.

He called the Lower House's decision a historic landmark given that the presidential immunity has existed since its adoption in the 1857 Constitution.

AMLO also mentioned that the elimination of unjustified legal privileges could apply to other public servants so that all citizens are treated as equal before the law.

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