MEXICO CITY, March 19 (Reuters) - A Mexican court ordered a
definitive suspension of the government's contentious new
electricity law in a ruling published Friday, just as President
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for the Supreme Court to
settle the matter.
A cornerstone of Lopez Obrador's drive to bolster state
control of the energy market, the law aims to strengthen
national power company the Comision Federal de Electricidad
The president argues the previous administration skewed the
electricity market in favor of private operators, and renewable
energy providers are concerned that the changes threaten their
businesses in Mexico.
"Let's have the Supreme Court resolve this," Lopez Obrador
told a regular news conference. "If it's declared
unconstitutional because the interests of business groups win
out ... if the judges don't act with justice, you'd have to take
the word off the 'Supreme Court of Justice,'" he added.
The definitive suspension comes a week after a judge ordered
a temporary freeze to the legislation passed by Congress this
month, citing competition concerns. It was not clear how soon
the dispute could reach Mexico's top court.
Lopez Obrador noted the Supreme Court could only strike down
the law if two-thirds of its members vote against it. That meant
if four of the court's 11 judges upheld it, it will stand, said
the president, who has appointed three of the justices so far.
A leftist who has repeatedly clashed with business, Lopez
Obrador also noted breadmaker Bimbo and retailer Walmart Inc.,
whose local unit is Walmart de Mexico, both filed
legal challenges against the law. He described the appeals as an
effort to maintain favorable terms from the earlier regulation.
"It's an affront," he said.
Walmart declined to comment, while Bimbo did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.
The judge's suspension order said the freeze on the law had
been requested by "two companies that carry out regulated
activities in the electricity sector," without naming the firms.
(Reporting by Adriana Barrera and Daina Beth Solomon;
Editing by Dave Graham and Aurora Ellis)