July 12, 2018 / 7:24 PM / 5 days ago

Mexican president-elect to launch public peace forums in August

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will begin a series of “popular consultations” next month for people to discuss his proposals to fight drug crime through negotiation and amnesties, the program coordinator said.

Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives a thumbs-up to supporters as he leaves a meeting with the new members the Senate and lawmakers of his party MORENA in Mexico City, Mexico July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Lopez Obrador, a leftist who won the presidency by a landslide and is scheduled to take office on Dec. 1, has suggested “transitional justice” to stem the violence resulting from 12 years of a militarized drug war.

The plan could include truth commissions, special courts, reparations for victims and reduced sentences for low-level offenders. The idea is for it to move forward with public support, he and his team have said.

From August through November, Lopez Obrador will hold discussion forums with victims and the general public in some of Mexico’s most violent cities, Loretta Ortiz, the program’s coordinator, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday night.

If Mexicans embrace the approach, it will go in 2019 to Congress, where Lopez Obrador’s allies have a majority.

Ortiz said that her team was still forming a plan for measuring the public response.

“The consultation results will generate the public policies we will implement for peacekeeping,” Ortiz said.

Lopez Obrador has also proposed public consultations for other major issues, including the construction of a new airport and his own performance as president.

Many relatives of drug war victims interviewed by Reuters in the violent state of Guerrero said they did not agree with Lopez Obrador’s proposal to grant amnesty and eventually withdraw armed forces from areas plagued by the drug trade.

But Ortiz said the forums may help convince Mexicans that Lopez Obrador’s plan is the only way to achieve peace.

“The road to peace for the country is this one,” she said.

Reporting by Diego Oré, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by James Dalgleish

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