Mexico Ruling Party Sees AMLO Power Bill Approved by April
(Bloomberg) -- Mexico ruling party lawmakers expect President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s nationalist electricity reform to win full approval by mid April of next year, a time-line that reflects the various obstacles the bill faces.
Ignacio Mier, the lower house’s ruling Morena party leader, said on Twitter that the deadline should leave enough time for power companies to be able to participate in an open debate about the controversial reform. Some legislators have said the lower house may begin discussing the legislation as early as November or December.
The bill seeks to give the state utility, the Comision Federal de Electricidad, a majority stake in the electricity market and reduce control of the private sector. It is the latest in a series of steps taken by AMLO, as the president is known, to give the state more power over Mexico’s energy, dialing back on his predecessor’s reforms that lured international investments into oil, solar and wind developments.
The bill requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of congress and a majority of state legislatures in order to change the constitution, all of which Mier says will happen before April 15. The current legislative session ends in mid-December, leaving Congress with less than two months to negotiate the details.
The April deadline appears to indicate lawmakers are delaying their vote, said Carlos Petersen, senior analyst at Eurasia Group.
“It’s a sign that they don’t have the votes that they thought they had; it is an indication that the likelihood of the approval of the reform is very low,” said Carlos Petersen, senior analyst at Eurasia Group. “They may rush and try to have a vote in the lower house this year, but it looks complicated.”
The bill has come under fire from renewable energy companies and environmentalists for potentially canceling power generation contracts that are seen as more efficient and environmentally friendly than those being given priority under the new dispatch order.
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