MEXICO CITY The former Mexican soccer star Cuauhtemoc Blanco declared a hunger strike on Saturday to protest an impeachment process that seeks to remove him as mayor of the city of Cuernavaca, a state capital near Mexico City.
The proposal to unseat Blanco, who became mayor of Cuernavaca in December, was approved Thursday by the Morelos state legislature and was sent on to state supreme court judges who are expected to issue a ruling in early January.
Since the 43-year-old took over the colonial city of 350,000, opponents have questioned his attendance record at city hall meetings and his political experience, saying that advisers make decisions on his behalf.
"He might be a good man, but he is not qualified to rule," said constitutional lawyer Raul Carranca, who filed the impeachment petition before the state's legislature.
Blanco, who played for Club America and the Chicago Fire, was a part of the national team at three FIFA World Cup tournaments, and is Mexico's second leading scorer of all time with 38 goals. Off the field, he has made headlines for his hot-temper, including a 2007 incident where he was filmed hitting a Mexican sports journalist.
Carranca has also alleged that Blanco cannot adequately prove his residency in Cuernavaca.
Speaking by telephone from Cuernavaca, where he began his protest at dawn, Blanco told Reuters that elements of the trial were baseless.
"What they're doing is outrageous," Blanco said. His hunger strike, he added, would continue indefinitely.
(Reporting by Noe Torres; Writing by Natalie Schachar; Editing by Mary Milliken)