The Mexican Supreme Court Friday suspended President Andrés Obrador’s proposed legislative reform package regarding the nation’s electoral system, following a challenge from the National Electoral Institute (INE) who argued that the reforms were unconstitutional. Minister Speaker Javier Potisek also allowed a freeze on the legislation, keeping the current provisions in force.
The court noted they suspended the reforms on the basis that they infringe upon the “political-electoral” rights of Mexican citizens. The court also requested that the Congress of the Union and Federal Executive provide a response to the court.
The Senate passed the reforms on February 22 after a more wide-ranging proposal was rejected. As a result, the Senate labeled the reforms “Plan B.” The effect of the reforms would have been the abolishment of many independent state electoral institutes and tribunals. These independent bodies carry the authority to enforce campaign rules, and resolve electoral disputes. If the reforms were successful, the INE and Federal Electoral Tribunal (FET) would have assumed the responsibilities of these individual agencies and become the sole arbiters of all Mexican elections. The selection process of personnel within the INE and FET was also set to undergo reform, which creates further questions as to the impact of these reforms on the democratic rights of Mexican citizens.
After the Senate passed the reforms, Mexico saw large scale protests in Mexico City. Councilor President of INE Lorenzo Córdova stated the reforms are a “step back” from democratic elections. Córdova noted, “[I]t is a reform that has transformed entirely the way we organise the elections, and undermines many of INE’s capabilities.” Córdova further stated, despite its deficiencies, “this system is the one we built in order to inoculate the traditional distrust that characterised the political attitudes of political actors in Mexico.”