Mexico’s Senate voted Thursday to pass several measures that seek to combat nepotism and corruption by restructuring the country’s Supreme Court. One notable measure will extend the current Supreme Court President’s term from four to six years.
Arturo Zaldívar Lelo de Larrea was elected Supreme Court President and took office on January 2, 2019, with a term set to end on December 31, 2022. However, if the Senate approved measures pass in the Chamber of Deputies, Zaldívar will remain in the position until November 30, 2024.
The Senate’s attempt to change the constitutionally mandated term of four years passed in an 80 to 25 vote, increasing tension between the government and judicial branch. Senator Damián Zepeda of the National Action Party (PAN) argued that permitting this extension will have grave consequences. Zepeda reasoned that if Congress can bypass Mexico’s Constitution to extend the Supreme Court President’s term, it could extend the President of Mexico’s term. He further argued that this was not an alarmist political claim but a valid legal claim.
The Chamber of Deputies is now reviewing the measures. Should they pass, opposing Senators demand that Zaldívar renounces the extension and hold it unconstitutional.