Mexican Business Can Pitch Employees on Candidates, Agency Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican businessmen aren’t breaking any laws when they ask their employees to not vote for a certain candidate, according to Lorenzo Cordova, head of Mexico’s electoral regulator.

If and when any of these activities turn illegal, the National Electoral Institute will act accordingly, the newspaper Reforma reported, citing remarks by Cordova. As long as no laws are broken, their actions are protected free speech, he said.

Mexico’s business leaders have been urging employees in various ways not to vote for leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who holds an 18-point lead over his next rival. From mandatory talks in posh department stores, to posters in resting areas at supermarkets, and three-page letters to staff and shareholders, businessmen are nudging their employees to think carefully about who they vote for on July 1.

Meanwhile, Lopez Obrador said businessmen using the term “populism” to describe his policies and proposals “don’t even know what the term means and they’re just using it to scare people.” He spoke at a rally in the southeastern state of Oaxaca, Reforma also reported.

“I don’t care if those within the mafia of power say I’m a populist,” Lopez Obrador said. “If lowering the salaries of those on top and increasing them for those in the bottom is being a populist, write my name on that list.”

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