Analysis Agenda. August 12th, 2013

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When public opinion is expecting for the fog of uncertainty to start vanishing, politicians seem eager on maintaining it. From the beginning of its term – or perhaps a lot earlier -, Enrique Peña Nieto presented himself as the President for major reforms. Currently, his administration has issued the education and telecommunications Constitutional reforms. However, both are in a regulation stage, hence their effects remain to be seen. A similar thing happened with the labor reform issued and signed by his predecessor, Felipe Calderón. At the moment, it is quite complex not only to assess its success but also to notice in what it has been reflected. Regarding the recently issued “energy reform”, the expectations of knowing all its plausible details are to be reviewed on another occasion. Yes, it is common knowledge that there will be openness and neither PEMEX nor CFE will be sold. What is not known are the terms, not only of shifting oil and electricity sectors to priorities within the national agenda, but how will the essential issues on the matter will be treated (tax regime, possible sovereign funds, the relations with the oils worker union, among others). Hold on to your seats! Substantial debates are yet to come.

1-The proposals for modifying the 27th and 28th Constitutional articles: the basis of the energy reform… but not its essence. Finally, President Peña has presented his hydrocarbons and electricity initiative, at least, the first part of it. Regardless of the fact that the proposed Constitutional changes are not minor at all (shifting oil from the strategic sector to a national priority, opening up the possibility of celebrating contracts – not concessions – in all of the oil industry’s aspects, establishing the exclusivity of the State on the dissemination and distribution of electricity for public service), details of the reform, though deducted by the explanatory memorandum, will not be formalized until the discussion of secondary legislation is made. A sort of legal ability can be foreseen due to a Constitutional laxity may be set up as to ease its transit, leaving the most sensitive issues for regulation, whose dynamics present less obstacles in terms of necessary votes and procedures. Will it be like that?

2-The release of Rafael Caro Quintero and the renewed “sainthood” of due process. It is not the first time in which a “violation to due process” ensues the release of a (alleged or proven) criminal. The case of Florence Cassez was a first sign of an abysmal performance by authorities, given that someone who will always be suspected as a wrongdoer was set free. When talking about the late – or better put, pulverized – Guadalajara Cartel, matters are different. A legal maneuver where the accused had to face ordinary and not federal justice has allowed one of the biggest drug traffickers in the world not only to get out of prison but also to disappear sheltered by the shadow of impunity. How can the legal perversion of a theoretically virtuous concept such as due process be avoided?

The mess of the 17th PAN National Extraordinary Assembly’s closure: how far will their effects go? Between hollers, criticisms and physical aggressions, PAN leadership approved the reform to its statutes. The main point of the aforementioned modifications – and the origin of disputes – was the opening to all party members to the election of the next party leader (who could well be Gustavo Madero if he manages to achieve reelection). With these new rules, some Madero opponents fear the risks of “pregnant” ballots (a practice, by the way, used by several Calderón opponents to confront the former President), and thereby guarantee control both within the party’s state committees, as well as its national executive council. Beyond suspicions that have seriously hampered PAN’s democratic and civic legitimacy, how will this internal struggle affect the party’s legislative activities? Will there be consequences for the discussions of reforms programmed for the next few months

Antonio De la Cuesta

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