20 | ABR | 2019
New Supreme Court minister sparks off conflict of interest claims
Yasmín Esquivel Mossa – Photo: Taken from her Twitter account

New Supreme Court minister sparks off conflict of interest claims

13/03/2019
13:59
Reuters
Mexico City
Dave Graham, Stefanie Eschenbacher
-A +A
After a recess, a second vote was held and Esquivel was elected with 95 votes

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On Tuesday, Mexico’s Senate appointed the wife of a business ally of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to serve on the Supreme Court, sparking criticism that her appointment could undermine the independence of the top tribunal.

The Senate voted by an overwhelming majority to approve the nomination of Yasmín Esquivel Mossa, a Mexico City judge married to José María Riobóo, a construction magnate with close ties to López Obrador.

After her ratification, Esquivel, who has rejected any suggestion that her relationship with Riobóo could compromise her integrity at the Supreme Court, vowed to uphold the independence of the judiciary in serving her 15-year term.

But critics of López Obrador expressed dismay after it was announced that she would fill the seat vacated by Justice Margarita Luna Ramos.

MORENA and its allies needed a two-thirds majority in the 128-seat Senate to ratify Esquivel and fell short with only 66 of the 122 votes cast during the first round of voting.

But after a recess, a second vote was held and Esquivel was elected with 95 votes.

Esquivel was one of three women nominated by López Obrador. The two candidates had ties to MORENA, but they received little or no support.

During López Obrador’s 2000-2005 stint as mayor of Mexico City, Riobóo was a contractor on one of the administration’s top public works, the construction of an elevated highway around part of the capital known as the Segundo Piso.

Riobóo was also a vocal proponent of abandoning a USD $13 billion Mexico City airport being built on the drained bed of Lake Texcoco by the previous government in favor of converting a military base north of the capital into a new travel hub.

López Obrador canceled the Texcoco project in late October and said he would convert the base as a cheaper alternative. He said Riobóo would not be a contractor on the new project.

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