Mexico Supreme Court finds revolving door’s 10-year ban for former presidents excessive

The Supreme Court of Mexico found that the law barring senior public officials from working for the private sector for 10 years is “disproportionate”. AMLO considers the decision an “aberration”.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico

The Supreme Court of Mexico ruled on April 4 that banning senior civil servants from working for the private sector for up to 10 years after their public service is a violation of the freedom of work. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called the decision an “aberration”.

The Court unanimously invalidated the provision of the Federal Law of Republican Austerity stating that senior public servants should be barred from working for at least 10 years in companies that they “supervised, regulated or on which they obtained privileged information” during their public office tenure.

For the eleven judges, the impact of the law on freedom of work is “disproportionate, unnecessary and unjustified” and as a consequence unconstitutional.

For the president, the decision is an “aberration. It’s a national shame that the one who privatized railways, Ernesto Zedillo, is able to work as a consultant for the company he handed them over“.

Ernesto Zedillo was president of Mexico from 1994 to 2000 during which he privatized the National Railways of Mexico. A year after the end of his 6-year term, Zedillo joined the board of directors of Union Pacific Corporation, which is part of a rail consortium that was granted the largest concession of the country’s railways during Zedillo’s administration.

And Felipe Calderón does the same. He helps Iberdrola, a private monopolistic company controlling the electricity in Spain, which offers him to be part of the board when his mandate ends,” added AMLO during his press briefing Tuesday morning. Felipe Calderón was president of Mexico from 2006 to 2012.

The Federal Law of Republican Austerity regulates public spending related to high-ranking officials. Amendments passed in November 2019 for instance prohibit remodeling offices for aesthetic reasons and set a price limit for leasing cars.

A provision of the decree also prevents from working for the private sector. It applied to senior public officials like presidents, secretaries of State, undersecretaries, general directors and heads of government agencies. But the article on revolving doors was brought to Court by four opposition senators who challenged its constitutionality.

The Court acknowledged the legitimate purpose of the legislation, such as avoiding conflicts of interest and corruption. It however considered the time frame as excessive. Similar revolving door restrictions provided by the Mexican Constitution for other public offices don’t exceed a three-year ban.

Offended” by the promiscuity between public and private sectors, the president said he would “not remain silent in front of these aberrations”.

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