Mexico picks first woman to head electoral body amid political row

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican lawmakers on Friday for the first time chose a woman to head the National Electoral Institute (INE), as the electoral authority faces a bruising struggle with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Guadalupe Taddei, 59, will take over from Lorenzo Cordova amid intense political scrutiny of the body, including attempts by the president to slim down the INE's budget and offices.

Taddei, who was selected via a lottery system, is related to some political appointees of the president, though Lopez Obrador stressed he was not personally acquainted with her.

"I don't know her, I know her family and they are progressive and democratic people and honest people," he told a news conference following her selection.

"She is an experienced woman," he added, pointing to her three decades at the INE.

Taddei will oversee the 2024 presidential elections.

The approval of several contentious legislative changes to the INE last month prompted huge marches across the country in protest. The reform was challenged by the Supreme Court earlier this month, however, potentially blocking it.

Lopez Obrador has said the reforms strengthen democracy and reduce the influence of economic interests in politics, but critics say they give more power to the government over the INE.

(Reporting by Raul Cortes in Mexico City; Writing by Isabel Woodford; Editing by Matthew Lewis)