(Mexico City) Mexico’s Supreme Court on Friday suspended a reform to the way the electoral oversight institute operates that has been widely criticized by the opposition, who called it an “attack” on democracy ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Adopted in February on the initiative of left-wing nationalist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the text sharply reduces the budget of the National Electoral Institute (INE), the independent body responsible for organizing the election scheduled for mid-2024.

The institute had seized the Supreme Court, stressing that these changes would reduce its operating capacities and imply a clear cut in its workforce.

The highest court indicated that it had “accepted the suspension requested by the INE concerning all the contested articles of the decree”.

“The provisions in force before the reform” remain in force until further notice, she stressed, warning against any “violation of the political and electoral rights of citizens”.

In February, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against this text, on the initiative of civic organizations and opposition parties, fearing a risk of distortion of the ballot.

Mr. Lopez Obrador denounced a movement driven by “corrupt people”. He has also in the past accused the INA of covering up fraud and weighing on public finances.

On March 18, the leader in turn gathered a tide of supporters in the huge Zocalo square, in front of the presidency.

Elected in 2018, Mr. Lopez Obrador, whose popularity is around 60%, cannot legally stand for re-election, as the Mexican constitution provides for a single presidential term of six years. His party Morena is nevertheless widely favored.