Mexico president says will not push successor to rush constitutional reforms

By Thomson Reuters Jun 10, 2024 | 4:07 PM

By Raul Cortes and Ana Isabel Martinez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s outgoing president said he would not pressure his successor to rush a package of constitutional reforms he has proposed, including a major overhaul of the judiciary which has spooked markets since the June 2 election.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would meet later on Monday with close ally Claudia Sheinbaum, who notched a landslide victory to become Mexico’s first woman president, to start transition talks.

The constitutional reforms, which would drastically remake Mexico’s judiciary, eliminate key regulatory agencies and introduce new social benefits, were proposed by Lopez Obrador back in February but did not cause market alarm until the ruling coalition honed in on a congressional super-majority in the recent election.

Last week, Mexico’s peso fell 8% – its biggest plunge since the COVID-19 pandemic – in addition to a steep sell-off in the country’s main stock index.

On Monday the peso fell 1% before reversing losses and strengthening slightly.

Asked by a reporter on Monday if he would ask Sheinbaum to speed up constitutional reforms, Lopez Obrador replied: “No.”

Later, he stressed he would not interfere after he leaves office at the end of September, saying he would not receive politicians at the ranch where he will retire to and would delete his social media accounts.

The ruling coalition led by MORENA secured a two-thirds super-majority in the lower house but fell just short in the Senate, although analysts believe those extra votes can likely be secured through negotiation.

Lopez Obrador’s judicial reform would replace an appointed Supreme Court with popularly elected judges, as well as for some lower courts, which critics allege would fundamentally alter the balance of power in Mexico.

Also on Monday, MORENA party head Mario Delgado told broadcaster Radio Formula he believes the judicial overhaul is necessary and that it “will generate certainty for the rule of law and above that for investors.”

It remains unclear when lawmakers might take up the constitutional reforms.

While the newly-elected Congress will take office at the beginning of September, Sheinbaum will not be inaugurated until a month later, which could give Lopez Obrador and lawmakers a window to try to enact the reforms.

(Reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez and Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Brendan O’Boyle and Alistair Bell)