Lack of support from stagnant opposition to Mexico’s electricity reform

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(Bloomberg) – Mexico’s energy reform has been delayed until next year amid a lack of support for its approval from members of opposition parties, according to a senior lawmaker from the ruling party.

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The vote, which lawmakers originally hoped to have this year, will take place in 2022, which will give time to try to get the two-thirds majority needed for approval, said Juan Ramiro Robledo, chairman of the Points Commission. Constitutional Chamber of Deputies and member of Morena, the ruling party.

“The decision to carry out the reform is firm, it has certainly not changed. It is an initiative of the president and we have to rule on it, “said Robledo by phone. “We are going to do it with all the other deputies who are willing to listen to us. There are some with whom we have been making progress and who are convinced by the proposal to change the Constitution. But they are largely reluctant ”.

The constitutional reform promoted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would give majority control of the electricity market to the state electricity company and limit the participation of the private sector, which would reverse a radical reform of the previous government. Although some opposition parties had spoken out against the plan, the leaders of the PRI, the party that ruled Mexico for more than 70 years in the last century, said a few months ago that they were open to discussion, which gave the government hope of quick approval.

Lawmakers organized the first five public forums in the states of Tabasco, Veracruz, San Luis Potosí, Puebla and Mexico City, Robledo said. They are also moving forward with plans to hold an open parliament in Congress next year. Rubén Moreira, leader of the PRI party in the Chamber of Deputies, said in November that a prolonged debate would be a prerequisite for voting on the proposal.

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“We know what things they dislike, and which are impassable for them, for example the cancellation of contracts, it is necessary to explain well that the companies’ equipment is not really going to be expropriated,” said Robledo. “We do not intend to hold an exclusively internal discussion in the Chamber, but to remove it from the Chamber to all areas of the country.”

PRI spokespersons referred Bloomberg News to Moreira’s previous public comments when asked to comment, including one saying the vote should be postponed until after next summer’s state elections. The president’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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