Debt Will Rise / Reacts to Immunity Vote / Cabinet Changes LikelyBy Ricardo Guzman | Thu, 09/03/2020 - 11:23
Accepts increase in public debt. President López Obrador acknowledged an increase in the country's public debt due to the depreciation of the peso and the fall of the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have to make adjustments (in the budget). These are already being carried out so we won’t need more loans. However, due to the depreciation of the peso there is an increase in debt,” he said. The president insisted that next year’s budget adjustment will remove more indebtedness to focus only on current public spending cuts, without affecting federal welfare support programs.
Applauds decision on presidential immunity. President López Obrador applauded yesterday’s House of Representatives approval of the reform to eliminate presidential immunity from legal action, and said he expects the same outcome in the Senate. “This is historic. Something that was established in the 1857 Constitution and maintained in the 1917 Constitution is still in force,” he said. The president said he hopes this will set an example for every public servant and representative that they are on equal terms and anyone can face any legal action. “So, we all are good citizens, good authorities.” he said.
Cabinet members can run in elections. President López Obrador said it is “possible” that a member of his cabinet will leave his current position to participate in the 2021 elections. “This can happen because elections are coming, and whoever wants to take that road will be free to move,” he said. Reports of a handful of top cabinet members looking to contend for governorships are fueling rumors of a possible cabinet shuffle. “I still don’t know for sure,” the president said.
Border is normalizing. The situation at the US border is normalizing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, President López Obrador said. “The effect of the pandemic in the United States as well as in our country is decreasing, a little bit, but it has been decreasing,” he noted. On Aug. 13, Minister of Foreign Affairs (SRE) Marcelo Ebrard annouced an extended restriction on non-essential travel “until September,” after five months with only trade and emergencies being carried out through border transit.
Endorses changes in House of Representatives. President López Obrador applauded a House of Representatives agreement to elect a new board and chairperson, after a failed push from members of the Partido del Trabajo (PT), or the Workers Party, to take over the position. “The position should not matter, just the job. I am pleased that an agreement was reached in accordance with regulations,” he said. The president said he had great appreciation and respect for PT legislators, since that party has supported him for many years. “But as I respect them and they respect me, they know how I think. That we always have to act with righteousness,” he said after PRI’s Dulce María Sauri was finally named new chairperson.
Steady transition at SEMARNAT. President López Obrador said María Luisa Albores will act with the same integrity as Víctor Manuel Toledo as Minister of Environment (SEMARNAT) since they both belong to the same team. The president recalled how he met both defending the land and the environment, and standing firm “against those mining projects.”
Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish