Mexico’s AMLO urges predecessors to get over loss of pensions


Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday urged his predecessors to calm down after his administration submitted a budget that ends pensions for former heads of state.

“We’re avoiding extravagant spending, there’s been so much money squandered. No more on salaries, and though there are some who are annoyed, there will be no more pensions for ex-presidents,” the president, known by his initials as AMLO, told his morning press conference.

He said there were former presidents receiving pensions that are double his monthly salary of 108,000 pesos ($5,300), which is in turn 60 percent less than that of predecessor

On Saturday, Finance Secretary Carlos Urzua presented to the lower house of Congress a 2019 budget that calls for spending $286.4 billion with an emphasis on social programs.

The poor have never received before what they will get in 2019,” AMLO said Monday about the 2019 Economic Package.

He said the next budget is responsible and balanced and that it will not add to Mexico’s sovereign debt.

The Business Coordinating Council (CCE), Mexico’s largest business lobby, believes the budget sends “good signals” to the markets for being realistic, but criticized that the measures adopted are above all welfare handouts.

To that Lopez Obrador replied that he respects “that point of view” but “I find it hypocritical to criticize a government when it helps the poor but applauds when it rescues financial institutions.”

The leftist president’s approach to public spending, “republican austerity,” has entailed measures such as slashing his own salary by 60 percent from that of predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto and a pledge to enforce a constitutional provision that bars any public official from making more than the president.

AMLO says that the savings from reducing the pay and perks of senior officials will go toward improving salaries and working conditions for police, firefighters, teachers and other public servants.