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AMLO: I expect Mexican Congress to approve creation of National Guard

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during his morning press conference on Feb. 26, 2019, in Mexico City, Mexico. EPA-EFE/Sashenka Gutierrez

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during his morning press conference on Feb. 26, 2019, in Mexico City, Mexico. EPA-EFE/Sashenka Gutierrez

EFE

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday he was confident that the lower house of Congress would approve the creation of the National Guard, a security force that would be under civilian rather than military command.

“I expect that the Chamber of Deputies will approve the National Guard soon and that they (lawmakers) will help us in the state legislatures because it’s a constitutional reform that requires (approval) by the majority of the state legislatures,” the founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) said during his morning press conference at the National Palace.

The National Guard, whose ranks will include soldiers, sailors and police officers, will fight the wave of violence plaguing Mexico, Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said.

Last week, the Senate unanimously approved the National Guard’s creation, but with some changes to AMLO’s controversial original proposal, which called for the security force to be under military command.

The Chamber of Deputies is scheduled to debate the legislation creating the National Guard this week and to put it to a vote on Thursday.

“We have a plan, the resources and the budget for the National Guard have already been authorized. So we’re going to be in good shape to deal with security concerns,” the president said.

In a wide-ranging press conference, Lopez Obrador also discussed the econonmy, saying that he expected the gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at an average annualized rate of 4 percent during his term, which ends in 2024.

Mexico’s economy did not grow in December 2018, compared to the same month the previous year, the National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI) said in a report.

Regarding infrastructure, Lopez Obrador said his administration inherited projects with “many irregularities,” such as the train connecting Mexico City with Toluca, a transportation project that will need additional investment totaling 15 billion pesos ($784 million).

The project could end up costing 65 billion pesos (about $3.4 billion), while the original estimated cost was 20 billion pesos (some $1.04 billion), the president said.

Lopez Obrador said so many infrastructure projects were underway that there was not enough money in this year’s federal budget to complete them.

“We have to reschedule the completion of these projects,” the president said.


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