México President-elect Sheinbaum pushes judicial reform as polls show broad public support

México’s president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum said on June 17 that up to three out of four Mexicans polled by her party, the National Regeneration Movement (Movimiento de Regeneración Popular, Morena), support electing judges by popular vote, as proposed in the judicial reform championed by outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

According to Morena, 68% to 75% of respondents agreed that judges and justices should be elected by “the people of México,” as the reform proposes, compared to 24% to 19% who said they should be elected by the judiciary itself.

“If it had been 59%, it would have been as many people who voted for us, but even more people than those who voted for us recognize the importance of this reform for the judiciary,” Sheinbaum stressed, referring to the June 2 elections that she won.

The reform

The controversial judicial reform, which has caused uncertainty in the markets and a drop in the value of the Mexican peso, calls for the popular election of judges, electoral councilors, justices and ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice.

In all, more than 1,600 judicial positions would be up for election.

Detractors fear that the reforms would radically alter the balance of power in México, removing important checks and balances, and making it easier to politicize the judiciary.

Just a week ago, Sheinbaum tried to soothe markets by announcing that she had agreed with López Obrador to hold a “very broad discussion” on the reform before it is presented to the new Congress that takes office on Sep. 1, in which Morena will have a “supermajority” that will allow it to pass constitutional reforms without having to negotiate with other parties.