Judicial Branch: presidential narrative 2023/10/23
For a #HorizontalSociety
Since Monday of last week, staff from the Executive Committee of the Union of Workers of the Judicial Branch of the Federation placed tarps at their headquarters to demand "respect for the division of powers and judicial independence." They also called a national strike to protest the extinction of 13 trusts and the cut of some 15 billion pesos made by the Chamber of Deputies. Now, the discussion will move to the Senate of the Republic, where Morena and her allies will surely vote in favor.
The protests spread to several entities. However, President López Obrador minimized the events. Faced with the possibility of a strike, he ironically celebrated that “as long as the Judiciary does not work, they will not let criminals out.” Additionally, he emphasized that “they do not work, that is, they take time… there are thousands of people who have 10 years without a sentence.” The president criticized that some workers defend the funds to finance the luxuries of ministers and magistrates, which he described as a “moral sin.” Finally, he challenged the ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to march “to defend their privileges” and reiterated that the elite of the Judicial Branch manipulates workers to protest.
This episode has shown the meta-narrative with which AMLO intends to get involved in the 2024 electoral process. It has become clear that the presidential statements, seeking to reach two-thirds of Congress for Morena and his allies, will focus on criticizing the Power Judicial. Because the latter maintains important vulnerabilities in terms of social perception, it is highly probable that the head of the Executive will try to attract votes in favor of his candidate, by promoting the constitutional reform initiative with which he proposes "electing by popular vote to the ministers of the Court, to put an end to the corruption that prevails there.”
Recently, Ethos-Public Policy Laboratory held a meeting in which various experts pointed out that “the lack of transparency that prevails in the justice system, translated into the refusal to publicize the sentences, procedures and ways of working of the Judiciary , does not allow citizens to know the ways to access justice and creates a climate conducive to corruption.” The above, coupled with the “process of appointing the heads, where there is often darkness, without the information or transparency that allows us to know the way in which this occurs, deepens the bad perception about the functioning of said power.”
In 2016, Transparency International published that in Latin America 40% of people considered judges and magistrates to be corrupt. However, in the case of institutions in Mexico, the text “Corruption and judicial corruption: contributions to the debate” identified that 80% of the people surveyed thought that corruption in justice delivery institutions is very high. . In this same sense, the study “Judicial corruption and impunity: the case of Mexico”, published by Miguel Carbonell, points out that “one of the most worrying consequences of judicial corruption in Mexico are the high rates of impunity.” In this measurement, “one of the most alarming figures corresponds to the crimes that do not come to the attention of the authorities, which reach 75% of these, committed in said country. On the other hand, of 25% of the crimes, of which some authority has knowledge, the ministerial investigation is only concluded in 4.55% of the cases; Finally, only 1.6% of the total crimes committed in Mexico lead to judicial convictions.”
These considerations serve to frame the social mood prevailing in important segments of the Mexican population. The absurdity of expecting ministers to be elected by direct vote, with the excuse that this will “reduce corruption,” could find fertile ground, in which the simplicity of the presidential narrative takes root. It is essential to be on alert, since the implicit partisanship of the justice delivery system, instead of improving it, will seriously weaken it.
Faced with the strategy defined by AMLO against the Judiciary, the #HorizontalSociety has the opportunity to take advantage of the electoral dynamics in order to make a counterproposal that truly strengthens the honorability and efficiency of the Judiciary, as a counterweight to the other two powers.
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