Lady justice prevails in front of a Mexican flag

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s (AMLO) proposed referendum to prosecute his predecessors is constitutional, reports said. 

The Supreme Court’s President, Arturo Zaldivar, said that six of the eleven judges ruled the referendum as constitutional, Reuters reported.  

However, the judges who supported the referendum only agree on the account of modifying the question of the referendum. 

The original question, the Associated Press (AP) reported, goes like this: 

“Do you agree or not that the relevant authorities should — investigate– and punish the presumed crimes committed by former presidents?”

AMLO included in his original question the names of Mexico’s five former President. 

He also included in the question that the investigation and punishment will be following the law. 

Moreover, the Court, in their ruling, deleted the words “ex-presidents” and “presumed crimes” to modify the question. 

The Court used this phrase instead, “clearing up political decisions taken in previous years by politicians.”

AMLO proposed to hold the plebiscite in June 2021, the same month as the mid-term elections. 

However, it is not yet sure if the referendum will proceed on the same day. 

Recently, the President has been very vocal in demanding the High Court to pass the referendum. 

In August, the El Universal newspaper published a public opinion poll showing the public’s support for the proposal. 

Luis Maria Aguilar arguing his case in court

Details on the Reason for the Ruling

Opponents call the referendum a violation of the principle that prosecutors should prosecute, not politicians and voters. 

One of the judges who did not approve of the referendum is Luis Maria Aguilar. 

She argued that the referendum is an “unconstitutional” initiative. 

However, Aguilar argued that the Court cannot exclude “public opinion for fear of a catastrophic scenario of criminal populism.” 

Moreover, the Supreme Court ruled that AMLO’s referendum question should be modified for a “more neutral” tone. 


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