Mexico’s president-elect Sheinbaum pushes judicial reform amid market fears

The president-elect has promised wide consultations with stakeholders in the judiciary ahead of the reforms.

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum gesture after Sheinbaum arrived at the National Palace for a meeting, in Mexico City, Mexico, on June 10, 2024 [Mexico Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

Mexico’s president-elect has promised to push forward with constitutional and judicial reforms.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the country’s first female president, promised wide consultations on the reforms, signalling her determination to proceed despite concerns that have produced market volatility and hit the peso hard.

In her first news conference since being elected on June 2, Sheinbaum left a meeting with outgoing president and close ally Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to tell reporters that she remains steadfast on her promise of a constitutional overhaul.

“These are reforms that can be approved among the first reforms,” she said, noting that one of the first moves planned would see appointed Supreme Court judges replaced with popularly elected officials.

Some lower courts will also be affected and key regulatory agencies could be eliminated. Critics have warned that the reforms would fundamentally alter the balance of power in Mexico.

During her news conference, however, Sheinbaum promised wide consultation with stakeholders within the judicial system.

“In the case of the judicial reform, (discussion) should be through the bar association, professors of law, the ministers and magistrates themselves,” she said.

Some of the planned measures featured in a slew of constitutional reforms proposed by Lopez Obrador in February that would also eliminate key regulatory agencies.

Currency

The president-elect’s coalition has secured the two-thirds supermajority in the lower house required to pass the reforms. It fell just short in the Senate but could earn extra votes through negotiations.

The 61-year-old Sheinbaum will take office on October 1, but the Congress is expected to convene at the start of September. This would potentially give Lopez Obrador a window of a month to push through reforms before handing over the baton.

The outgoing president still enjoys an approval rating of more than 60 percent, but could not run again due to Mexico’s presidential term limits that allow only one term in office.

Sheinbaum, a former mayor of Mexico City, said that she does not expect the judicial overhaul to affect financial markets.

However, the peso weakened by nearly 2 percent to about 18.55 per United States dollar in international trading as she was speaking.

The Mexican currency is down by about 8 percent since the June 2 elections that Sheinbaum and her party won in a landslide, while the main stock index has fallen nearly 4 percent.

Source: News Agencies