Mexico president says he will choose National Guard’s head

February 22, 2019

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he will have the power to appoint an active military officer to lead a new National Guard although it would be a civilian security force.

Mexico’s Senate approved legislation Thursday that would create a more civilian-oriented version of the guard. The legislation now returns to a conference committee and will have to be approved by a majority of state legislatures because it involves constitutional changes.

The National Guard will be made up initially of military and federal police and will be overseen by the civilian Public Safety Department. Lopez Obrador’s original proposal to put the force under military command was strongly criticized.

But he stressed Friday that the legislation gives him the power to designate a military officer as the new force’s leader.