CATHOLIC bishops in Mexico have attacked slothful electors as sinful in the run-up to national voting for the country's assembly next week.
Appealing to everyone with the right to vote to go to the polling booths on August 18, the bishops said that elections in Mexico had been fraudulent in the past. It was left to the ordinary people to ensure that democracy was given the chance to work this time around, they said.
Staying at home when the votes were cast was "a sin of egotism, of sloth and cowardice which reflected a lack of interest in the common good," stressed Bishop Felipe Arizmendl of Tapachula. And most of the 14 pastoral regions in Mexico issued similar warnings against indifference to the ballot.
The bishops urged President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who has resumed diplomatic ties with the Vatican after a break of 100 years, to live up to his promise of an election free from vote rigging and fraud. Mexico had to learn to trust the democratic process, they stressed.
Voters in all Mexico's 31 states and the metropolitan district of the capital will go to the polls to elect representatives for the 500 seats in the federal chamber of deputies. Half the 64 places in the country's senate will also be contested.
Bishop Carlos Quintero Acre of Hermosillo said that Mexico's record of trouble free elections was not good, and the electorate bore a heavy responsibility to show the government that democracy was precious to the people. "I have never said that failing to vote is a sin, but I do believe it is an obligation," the bishop said.