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imageBUENOS AIRES: President Cristina Kirchner suffered a defeat on Tuesday after Argentina's Supreme Court tossed out a bid to select officials to the country's top judicial panel by popular vote.

"It is not valid to force judges, attorneys and academics to be selected by popular vote," the court said in part of its 67-page finding.

Kirchner had hoped to change rules for how judges are put on the Judicial Council, which is in charge of naming and renewing the posts of other judges.

She claimed that would be more democratic, and apparently believed it could help start a top-down injection of pro-government judges into the changing system.

But the high court struck down the government's scheduling of elections for the Judicial Council. The elections had been set for August 11.

Now on her second and last term, her popularity waning as the highly regulated economy stagnates, Kirchner is ineligible for a third term barring constitutional reform polls show Argentina's voters would not support.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013

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