An alliance of opposition parties in Mexico is threatening a proposal for greater state control of the electricity market, saying on Monday it would vote against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s plan.
(REUTERS).- The coalition’s move would deprive Lopez Obrador of congressional support for constitutional change that he is seeking to protect his reform. He has said the reform would help limit electricity prices and improve Mexican independence from foreign-owned producers.
Similar legislation became law last year but is in danger of being struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and has been on hold pending resolution of challenges to it.
In declaring that the opposition coalition would withhold backing to the revised attempt that includes constitutional change, its most powerful member, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), complained of the president’s refusal to negotiate.
“It is a categorical ‘no’ to the regressive reform that has been presented without willingness to move even a comma,” said PRI leader Alejandro Moreno at a press conference with other party heads.
Lopez Obrador, a leftist and nationalist on energy policy, has pitched the overhaul as needed to keep a lid on creeping energy prices by giving more control over the power market to state-owned electricity company Comision Federal de Electricidad.
The reform would give market priority to CFE plants, whose prices can be controlled by the government.
Changing the constitution requires a congressional supermajority, but the president’s MORENA party controls only slim majorities in Congress.
Lopez Obrador needs another 53 votes in the lower house to achieve the supermajority, and the PRI’s 71 votes there had been seen as his best chance of getting them.
MORENA’s legislative leaders have said they expected to bring the bill to the lower house next week, while the opposition parties said they would present a counterproposal after the president’s version had been voted on.
The Supreme Court will this week hear the challenge to last year’s legislation. If it rules that the legislation is valid, Lopez Obrador will not need constitutional changes.
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