Mexico elects first female Supreme Court president

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[1/2] A screen shows the ceremony in which Norma Lucia Pina prepares to take the oath as president of the Supreme Court of Justice while speaking on a television screen in the press room of the Supreme Court building in Mexico City, Mexico January 2, 2023.REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Mexico's Supreme Court on Monday elected its first female president after a succession process clouded by allegations of plagiarism against another justice competing for the job.

By a 6-5 majority vote, the justices chose Norma Pina to head the country's highest court, putting in place a member appointed to the tribunal under the previous administration.

She takes over from Arturo Zaldivar amid a charged debate about who should lead the court fueled by a December media report alleging that another contender for the top job, Justice Yasmin Esquivel, had plagiarized her undergraduate thesis.

Esquivel vehemently denied the accusation, which triggered an investigation by her alma mater, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, which continues.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who nominated Esquivel to sit on the 11-member court in 2019, had blasted the plagiarism report by media outlet Latinus as an attempt to discredit the government and what he calls his transformation of Mexico.

Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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