July 21, 2018 / 3:11 AM / 4 months ago

Incoming Mexico leader blasts campaign fine as 'act of vengeance'

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s incoming president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday slammed a decision by the electoral authority to fine his party $10 million over a campaign financing breach, calling it an “act of vengeance” against his landslide victory.

Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a news conference at the campaign headquarters in Mexico City, Mexico July 15, 2018. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf

On Wednesday, the National Electoral Institute (INE) handed down the fine to Lopez Obrador’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) over a trust the party created last year, which the party said went to helping earthquake victims.

But the INE said MORENA was opaque about the money that came in and out and said the party broke the rules.

“This is an act of vengeance,” Lopez Obrador said outside his team’s offices in Mexico City, accusing the INE of behaving “tendentiously” and of overreaching.

“They’re acting this way because they don’t accept the new reality,” the 64-year-old said, resorting to the sort of combative tone he used in the campaign to attack the government.

Since his commanding election win on July 1, Lopez Obrador had been far more conciliatory toward the organs of the state.

Lopez Obrador said MORENA would fight the decision in court.

Due to take office on Dec. 1, Lopez Obrador has yet to be formally declared president-elect by the electoral tribunal.

As a result, Lopez Obrador said he would not attend a summit meeting of leaders from the Pacific Alliance trading bloc in the western city of Puerto Vallarta next week.

He will, however, meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland when she and other ministers from the Canadian Cabinet visit Mexico City on Wednesday, he said.

Reporting by Noe Torres and Dave Graham; Editing by Leslie Adler

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