Government Says Hunger Crusade is About Poverty, Not Buying Votes
The National Crusade Against Hunger is meant to lift Mexico’s poorest out of poverty – not buy votes, according to the federal government.
Members of the Federal Secretariat of Social Development (Sedesol) said last week the 400 municipalities participating in the first stage of the program were chosen according to strict statistical analysis. Electoral issues were not considered, the agency said.
Government officials met with lawmakers on the Chamber of Deputies’ Social Development Committee this week. The officials say they have answered questions – mostly from lawmakers from the National Action Party (PAN) and Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) – about how the 400 municipalities were chosen.
Last Tuesday, PRD Senator Benjamín Robles Montoya accused the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of using the program to buy votes ahead of municipal elections in some states in July 2013.
PRI member Juan Carlos Lastiri Quirós, of the Planning and Evaluation Committee, said that electoral concerns must be kept out of public policy. “We aren’t going to allow any individual interest to infect public policy of this nature,” he said, adding, “There is a high level of community participation that prevents any attempt … to influence this government program.”
Ernesto Nemer Álvarez of the Social and Human Development Committee said that the National Crusade Against Hunger would help 7.4 million Mexicans living in extreme poverty in urban and rural areas.
PRI lawmaker Víctor Hugo Velasco Orozco said that it was important to thoroughly review social programs to ensure they are helping those most in need.
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