Mexico City, May 9 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday that he will propose a constitutional amendment to place the selection of Supreme Court judges in the hands of the electorate.
“So the people choose the judges, as established in the liberal constitution of 1857, in the era of President (Benito) Juarez,” the leftist head of state, commonly known as AMLO, said during his daily morning press conference.
His comments came a day after Mexico’s highest court struck down part of an electoral reform package supported by the administration.
AMLO said that he will submit the proposed amendment to Congress in September 2024, three months before the end of his mandate but after general elections in which the governing coalition hopes to regain the two-thirds legislative majority needed to amend the constitution.
Mexican presidents are limited to a single, six-year term.
“Only with the decision of the people can a reform be carried out,” AMLO said, accusing preceding administrations of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the right-wing National Action Party (PAN) of divvying up the 11 seats on the Supreme Court.
“Why that crisis in the judiciary? Why has that branch atrophied completely? Because it was used as a bargaining chip when the deals were made between the PRI and the PAN,” he said.
The high court judges voted 9-2 Monday to invalidate the portion of the electoral reform plan that eliminated the existing prohibition on officeholders’ participation in election campaigns.
That prohibition, meant to stop outgoing presidents from putting a finger on the scales in the elections to choose their successors, has never been very effective.
During the 2006 campaign, the National Electoral Institute (INE) concluded that PAN incumbent Vicente Fox unduly interfered to aid his party’s candidate, Felipe Calderon, against AMLO.
Even so, the INE declined to take any action and rejected AMLO’s request for a recount after Calderon prevailed by less than 1 percent of the vote.
The INE opposes the election reforms, insisting that they will undermine its autonomy and “harm the equity of the contest.”
“The judiciary has no remedy, it’s rotten, they are acting in a factious manner,” AMLO said.
The Supreme Court judges, he said, are at the “service of the conservative bloc, which is synonymous with a gang of ruffians, very corrupt.”
“It’s an act of arrogance and authoritarianism, the judges of the court dare to cancel the law,” AMLO said of Monday’s decision. EFE ppc/dr