AMLO Presses Opposition to Back Mexico’s Nationalist Power Bill
(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on opposition parties to vote in favor of a nationalist bill that would return control of the electricity market to the state utility, and spoke strongly against legislators who may vote against the proposal.
The bill would amend the constitution to cancel most permits awarded to private companies for electricity generation to ensure the state-owned Comision Federal de Electricidad holds on to the majority of the market. It would also end the country’s independent energy regulators.
AMLO, as the president is known, needs votes from opposition parties to secure the two-thirds majority in congress to pass the amendments. His Morena party-led coalition has only simple majorities in both houses. While the president said he wasn’t threatening lawmakers, he appeared to be pressuring them to fall in line.
“It will be interesting to observe the legislators, to see whether they are actually representatives of the people or simply employees of groups with economic and political power,” Lopez Obrador said at his daily press briefing on Monday.
Lawmakers “shouldn’t think that they will vote against the reform, which is to benefit the people, and that no one will find out. There’s no covering up. Here, everyone has to assume responsibility.”
AMLO said he would press the opposition to put aside any ties to multinational cooperations, which he said benefit from the current electricity market at the expense of average people.
Lopez Obrador said he would appeal to the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s history of nationalism, even if his predecessor, President Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the PRI, had been the one to open the power market to private firms in a landmark 2013 reform.
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