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Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hands over a ceremonial baton of command to Claudia Sheinbaum after she was elected by the ruling National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) as its candidate to succeed him in 2024 in the presidential election, in Mexico City, Mexico September 7, 2023.

REUTERS/Henry Romero

Mexico’s president-elect pushes controversial judicial reform

In her first press conference since winning the Mexican election in a landslide earlier this month, president-elect Claudia Sheinbaumbacked a highly controversial plan to introduce a popular vote for the country’s Supreme Court justices.

The reform is the brainchild of current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, a charismatic left(ish) populist whose Morena party won a supermajority in Congress and fell just shy of one in the Senate.

Directly electing Supreme Court justices via popular vote would put Mexico in the company of just one other country that we know of: Bolivia, where AMLO’s ideological cousin Evo Morales instituted the practice in 2009.

AMLO and his supporters say the move would introduce more accountability to a system long dominated by corrupt elites.

But critics say it would dangerously politicize the justice system, upending the rule of law right as Mexico tries to catch an investment boom from “nearshoring” – that is, the trend of US-oriented companies moving their factories out of Asia as a way to skirt US-China trade tensions and avoid future global supply chain issues.

The skeptics could be right: The Mexican peso fell 2% after Sheinbaum’s comments.

Trump trial: How would a conviction hurt his reelection bid?
| World In :60

Trump trial: How would a conviction hurt his reelection bid?

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

How would a conviction in his hush money trial impact Trump in the 2024 election?

At least a little bit at the margins. And certainly that's the reason why Biden and the White House campaign are now working to pay attention to it, to get people down there in front of the courthouse where the media is located and talk about Trump as a criminal. Of course, could backfire on them, especially if it's a hung jury. But if he's convicted, while Republicans aren't going anywhere, there are a lot of independents that have consistently said that they are less willing to vote for Trump. Of course, this conviction comes in the lowest stake of the cases that are being presently pursued against the former president. This isn't the case on the insurrection and this isn't the case even on the classified documents being obscured, mishandled. And so as a consequence, I suspect at the end of the day, if you get a conviction, it's not going to matter much. But in a very, very close election, which is all about swing states and turnouts, it could hurt with getting independents to turn out for Trump.

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What We're Watching: AMLO's bittersweet victory, Boko Haram's leader is (maybe) dead, El Salvador's move towards crypto

Did AMLO win in Mexico's midterms? The governing Morena party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador lost its two-thirds lower-house majority in Sunday's midterms, dealing a blow to the leftwing nationalist leader's bid to radically transform Mexico. Although Morena and its allies are projected to hang on to a simple majority in the lower house, winning as many as 292 of the 500 seats up for grabs, that two-thirds margin was crucial for López Obrador's ability to change the constitution, something he's threatened to do in order to carry out what he calls a "Fourth Revolution" that remakes Mexico's economy in the interests of the poor and working class. Still, López Obrador remains in a commanding position: Morena and its allies look to have picked up more than half a dozen state governorships, and they still control both houses of Congress. Most importantly, despite failing to tackle crime, corruption, or poverty since his election in 2018, the left-populist López Obrador remains immensely popular in a country where traditional conservative politicians are reviled. Chastened as he may be by the result, as he heads into the final three years of his six-year term, López Obrador isn't likely to give much ground to his rivals. Read our full write-up of the election and its implications here.

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A supporter of Felix Salgado Macedonio, who was running for governor of the state of Guerrero as a candidate of President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador's MORENA party, takes part in a demonstration outside Mexico's National Electoral Institute in Mexico City.

REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico’s midterms: AMLO unbound?

On Sunday Mexican voters will go to the polls to elect 500 members of the lower house, roughly half of the country's governorships, more than two dozen state assemblies, and some 20,000 other local government posts. Some are calling it the largest election in the country's history.

The ruling Morena party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, is looking to hang on to its current two-thirds majority in the lower house, and to pick up several governorships to boot.

Although his name won't be printed on a single ballot, the vote is largely seen as a referendum on AMLO himself, the leftwing nationalist who swept to power in 2018 with huge promises to tackle violence, root out graft, help the poor and, above all, break the power monopoly of the traditional political class.

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Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City.

REUTERS/Henry Romero

Mexico vote will test support for López Obrador’s agenda of change

Mexicans will go to the polls Sunday to choose their representatives for the lower house of congress and the governors of 15 of their country's 32 states. Halfway into President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's six-year term, the vote will test public support for his efforts to expand government control of the economy and improve living standards for all Mexicans.

The veteran leftist leader won election in a landslide in July 2018, and though he remains very popular, cracks in his support have appeared. Eurasia Group experts Ana Abad, Carlos Petersen, and Daniel Kerner explain what's at stake on Sunday for the president.

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Mexico’s man of the people

It's not like things are going well in Mexico.

COVID has killed more people there than in any country except the United States and Brazil. Just 2 percent of Mexicans have gotten a first vaccine jab, compared with nearly 24 in the US. The Biden administration made clear this week that it won't send vaccines to its southern neighbor until many more Americans have been vaccinated. Mexico's government has cut deals for doses from China, Russia, and India.

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