On June 22, 2023, the Mexican Supreme Court invalidated the second part of the “Plan B” Political-Electoral Reform Package 2022-2023 that sought to significantly undermine the independence of Mexico’s highly-regarded National Electoral Institute (“INE”). The Court invalidated the “Plan B” legislation on the grounds that it violated legislative procedure. It determined that the Congress of the Union infringed upon Articles 71 and 72 of the Federal Constitution, which relate to the principle of democratic deliberation.
In a majority decision of 9 votes, the Supreme Court invalidated the Decree that reformed, added, and repealed various provisions of the General Law of Electoral Institutions and Procedures, the General Law of Political Parties, the Organic Law of the Judicial Branch, and established the General Law of Electoral Dispute Media, which was published on March 2, 2023.
The Court ruled that there were multiple severe violations of the legislative procedure:
- The so-called “Plan B” initiatives were presented for discussion and approval without being published before the session, denying all legislators the opportunity to review them, as stipulated by the Rules of the Chamber of Deputies. These initiatives encompass six laws and over 510 articles added, amended, or modified.
- The majority classified the initiatives as urgent without reason, meaning committees still needed to review them. They were immediately discussed and approved, despite their length and complexity. This occurred despite repeated requests from the minority to allow prior knowledge of the Decrees’ contents and engage in a serious debate.
- Both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate should have properly discussed and eliminated articles from the draft decree already approved by both chambers. One of the specific constitutional rules of the legislative procedure explicitly prohibits the Houses of Congress from altering any articles or provisions of bills or decrees that both had previously approved.
With the declaration of invalidity of the challenged Decree, the Supreme Court determined that, in order to preserve the principle of certainty in electoral matters, the norms that had been reformed through that Decree would regain their validity with the text they had before the Decree took effect, i.e., as of March 2, 2023.
For over 15 years and on more than 30 occasions, the Supreme Court has asserted that the legislative procedure defined in the Constitution is the foundation of the democratic regime and not a mere formality. It requires the legislative body to observe and protect the principles of legality, representativeness, and deliberative democracy.
Read the press release of the Mexican Supreme Court (in Spanish):