Mexico's beleaguered Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam will step down from his post effective immediately, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced this afternoon.
The president praised the outgoing attorney general and said he'll be moved to a new cabinet post as Minister of Agricultural, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU).
Peña Nieto said at a press conference that he appointed Karam to the new post so he implements "the same efficiency, commitment and talent that he dedicated to the attorney general's office" to his new job at SEDATU.
The president referred to Karam as "a man of talent, great political and professional ability; a man committed to his convictions." Peña Nieto said his government is grateful for how Karam conducted the investigation into the last year's events in Iguala, the municipality in the southern state of Guerrero where the 43 Ayotzinapa students went missing on the night of Sept. 26.
Karam said he looks forward to his new job, where he'll oversee Mexico's housing programs and urban development.
Today's cabinet shuffle comes on the heels of this morning's capture of Knights Templar cartel boss Servando "La Tuta" Gomez Martinez, which provided an exclamation point to Karam's tenure as attorney general. Other career highlights include a crackdown on corrupt union leader Elba Esther Gordillo and a major drug war win by netting notorious kingpin Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman.
More recently, Karam's office has been heavily criticized for its handling of the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students, despite the president's praise.
“Karam served during a period of time where there were convincing victories and also areas where things did not go according to plan," Javier Vega, director of foreign relations for Mexico's ruling PRI, told Fusion. "Overall, he did a good job.”
Vega said Karam will be replaced by Arely Gonzalez, who was a special prosecutor and head of Mexico’s Supreme Court prior to becoming a senator for the ruling party (PRI). Gonzalez will become the second woman in Mexico's history to serve as Attorney General, if her appointment is confirmed by the Senate.
Peña Nieto has not yet mentioned Gonzalez's expected appointment.