Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called for an end to the agency that oversees government transparency and freedom of information, in what critics consider his latest attempt to limit oversight.
After recovering from a third COVID infection, López Obrador resumed his practice of morning press conferences on Friday, where he backed a plan proposed by his political party to shutter the Institute for Information Access and Transparency (INAI).
Let the federal comptroller’s office, which belongs to another branch of government, the legislative branch, take over this function and let this agency disappear. Enough playing with appearances,” he said, adding that INAI’s dissolution would save taxpayer money.
Mexico created its freedom of information system in 2002 – laying the groundwork for INAI – and a constitutional reform in 2013 granted the agency autonomy to ensure it can provide transparency without interference.
INAI holds the power to compel other government bodies to submit to freedom of information requests as part of the government’s checks against corruption. But INAI has been in crisis recently, as appointments to its seven-member governing body have been stymied by the ruling party, called the National Regeneration Movement or Morena.
INAI needs at least five members to form a quorum. Currently, it has only four, leaving the institute unable to issue official decisions.