Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Parties, candidates hint at energy policy in a new administration

Posted in Uncategorized by politicalrisklatam on July 27, 2011

by Jeremy Martin for MexBizNews, July 27th, 2011.

In less than 12 months, Mexico will elect a new president. Surely, the security concerns gripping the country will dominate the campaigns. But, given energy’s role for the country’s economic well being, what candidates say on that topic will be important.

Across the parties and presumed candidates, there have indeed been hints and signals as to their thoughts on energy that are worth further assessment.

Beginning with the incumbent party, President Felipe Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN), there is much to dissect.

The president, energy secretary in his predecessor’s administration, has not completely shied from confronting Mexico’s energy dilemma. Not as deep as was hoped for, the energy reform of 2008 was, nevertheless, an important incremental step – and clear delineation of his government’s and the PAN’s position.

But there are two more recent developments that point up the PAN’s continued desire for “deeper” energy reform.

First were comments made in May by President Calderon. By expressing his hope for further energy reforms during his sexenio, he ignited a round of discussion and intrigue just as the election calendar was unfolding. But it was the response that underscored the PAN’s position on energy and is worth noting: Taking another shot at Pemex reform legislation was largely embraced by most PAN lawmakers.

Second are revelations that emerged from an internal party document crafted and circulated by PAN lower house member and presidential aspirant Josefina Vazquez Mota. Long on platitudes including commitment to oil sovereignty, the document did appear to reaffirm the PAN’s desire to remake Pemex and specifically in terms of fiscal reform, competitivity, and efficiency at the firm.

The outgoing PAN administration’s comments coupled with those made by PAN legislators send fairly clear signals as to the party’s platform, or at least their wishes, on energy policy and reform going into 2012.

Similarly transparent to date, but on the other side of the energy equation, resides the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

The party, led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the last election, spearheaded the anti-reform movement in 2008. The PRD, at least with Lopez Obrador at the helm, appears to remain firmly opposed to deep reform at Pemex and particularly to efforts to increase the firm’s ability to contract with private – and especially foreign – companies.

But more than either of the other major parties, the PRD’s internal deliberations to determine their nominee could conceivably alter the party’s broader views on energy. (continue reading… )

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