What next after the energy reform?

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Just like it occurred with the political-electoral reform, the Chamber of Deputies exempted the commission proceeding regarding the required formal request sent by the Senate on the Constitutional modifications that a historical opening of the energy sector might imply. Despite the occupation of the Chamber’s central rostrum by the different parliamentary left-wing factions, Deputies have found an alternate venue for discussing the energy reform. Although legislators will be working under adverse and trampled conditions until early in the morning, changes in the basic law of the country are ready to be undertaken. The energy reform will be the pinnacle of several modifications set since the beginning of President Peña’s administration, all of them framed under the negotiation device that is the Pact for Mexico. The federal government has practically achieved everything that it has set out as a goal on different matters, from education to telecommunications, and also ranging from fiscal to energy and electricity issues. In little more than a year, the Executive Power has managed to take advantage of the political bonus of finding a weakened opposition, as well as broad legislative factions dominated by PRI and its partners, the Green Party and the New Alliance Party, with the aim of setting the scenario for the implementation of its government projects. After these events and assuming that it will manage to implement what the Legislative Power has approved, something that is already a generous concession, how will the current administration capitalize this progress?
Life in Mexico does not end with the conclusion of the ordinary session period on the next December 15th. In addition to the fact that Constitutional reforms will need of regulatory laws as to be fully enforced, the government is entering a crucial stage. The Peña administration is entering into the time of generating results. From a very optimistic point of view for the opposition, the ruling party will have the responsibility of proving the existence of a true project that is aimed on moving the country forward. The controversial reforms that have been approved in the past few months are not a minor issue. It wasn’t only the break-up with the oil nationalism taboo but the presumed recovery of the educational sector’s control from the hands of the teachers union, the modernization of the judicial framework of telecommunications with the aim of making it more competitive, the supposed improvement of transparency and accountability rules linked with the use of public resources, and the creation of a tax collection network which, under the tax authorities’ point of view, is the closest to ideal. Currently, however, the government has not given clear signs of having a clear path. Most of the reforms have been marked by the political expertise from which previous rulers lacked, but not by a real modification of old practices which led Mexico to bleak results. The main indicators of the aforementioned will be based on two basic elements: the reconstruction of an obsolete welfare without the possibility of using past financial resources, and the prevalence of a system that does not tackle corruption with enough vehemence. All of this will be under a scheme of renewed political control in all aspects.
It is true, due to its enormous richness, that Mexico has survived even with the best State and societal practices. Nevertheless, that luck might run out. The economic and political conditions of the contemporary world urge countries to adapt under frameworks of competitiveness, efficiency, sustainability and long-term vision. The reforms that have been approved in 2013 will not be enough without a project and, thus, without visible results in a reasonable time period that is measured in months and not years. The legislative fights, pacts with the opposition or the construction of a media image from the Presidency will serve for nothing if they are not accompanied by an inflection point that will favor growth in all of its aspects. Even the likely improvement on economic performance next will year will be insufficient if it does not turn out to be sustainable, a result of temporary circumstances (such as the fiscal deficit) or factors that are outside the control of the government, such as the growth in the U.S. economy.


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