Mexico government to challenge Supreme Court suspension of electoral reform

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Supreme Court building where Ministers elected a new President for the Supreme Court, in Mexico City, Mexico January 2, 2023.REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican government said Sunday it would challenge the Supreme Court's temporary suspension of parts of a controversial electoral reform pushed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The Supreme Court on Friday halted parts of the reform, which was a scaled-down version of a failed constitutional reform originally sought. The court also confirmed it will consider a lawsuit from independent electoral institute INE that seeks to overturn it.

Mexico's government said in a statement it will challenge the decision through its legal department and blasted the court's suspension.

"It is false that the fundamental rights of citizens are put at risk, as well as the organization of the elections ... so it is an unjustified and unnecessary resolution," the government said.

"It is essential that the ministers that make up the (Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation) act within the powers that correspond to them, without trespassing the limits imposed by the Constitution and the laws," it added.

The Supreme Court's statement said in its statement Friday that the case involved "the possible violation of citizen's political-electoral rights."

The leftist Lopez Obrador has bitterly clashed with electoral authorities throughout his political career.

Late last month, Mexico's Senate gave its final approval to the electoral reform known locally as "Plan B," which critics warn will undermine democracy since it significantly downsizes the INE while giving more power to local officials, many of whom are members of Lopez Obrador's MORENA party.

The government has said the reform seeks to reduce the bureaucratic costs of elections and strengthen democratic principles.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets days after lawmakers approved the reform, in one of the largest protests so far against Lopez Obrador's four-year-old administration.

(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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