The election today of the new chief justice of the Supreme Court for the next two years is marked by uncertainty because neither of the two candidates has the five votes necessary to be elected. The situation is also complicated by the arrival of two new members.
Current Chief Justice José Ayú Prado concludes his tenure today after a turbulent time in office which saw two justices resign due to corruption investigations and a wide-spread investigation that resulted in the arrests of numerous lower court officials for irregularities involving decisions, including jury tampering.
The two candidates for chief justice are Luis Ramón Fábrega and Harry Díaz. But neither has garnered the five votes needed for election. When Ayu Prado was elected in 2014, three rounds of voting were needed, a historic and unprecedented situation. In the first round, Fabrega was nominated and received four votes. Victor Benavides received four votes. Díaz abstained, refusing to break the tie.
In the second round, Ayu Prado was nominated and achieved three votes, gaining the support of Fabrega and Díaz. He then received the five votes he needed on the third round.
According to sources, Fabrega has the support of Ayu Prado and Hernán De León.
Fabrega and De Leon maintain internal differences with Diaz and are unlikely to give him their vote, according to the sources. Diaz is supported by Oydén Ortega, Jerome Mejía and Abel Zamorano, the alternate for Alejandro Moncada Luna, giving him four votes along with his own.
That means the deciding votes will be made by Ángela Russo and Cecilio Cedalise, who will be sworn in to office today at 9:30 a.m. The votes of the newest members will decide who will lead the court for the next two years.