News / Americas

Mexican Senate Committees Approve Electoral Reform

People protest against Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, on the first anniversary of his goverment in Mexico City, Dec. 1, 2013.
People protest against Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, on the first anniversary of his goverment in Mexico City, Dec. 1, 2013.
Reuters
Mexican Senate committees on Tuesday passed an electoral reform demanded by the opposition, taking Congress a step closer to a bill to open up the oil and gas industry at the center of President Enrique Pena Nieto's economic agenda.
 
The Senate committees worked through reservations to the electoral bill on Monday night and gave it full approval early on Tuesday, passing it to the floor of the upper chamber.
 
The electoral reform, which opposition conservatives had made a condition of their backing for the energy bill, would allow lawmakers to serve consecutive terms in office.
 
The reform also sets out rules for coalition governments and aims to strengthen Congress at the expense of the president.
 
The last major hurdle to Pena Nieto's energy reform, the bill will move to the lower house once the Senate gives its approval. That is expected to take place later on Tuesday.
 
Movement on the electoral plan comes after Mexico's main leftist party pulled out of a political pact that Pena Nieto's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) forged a year ago with opposition leaders to push through economic reforms.
 
To reverse almost a decade of declining crude output, Pena Nieto wants to open up the state-controlled oil sector to allow private investors to team up with oil monopoly Pemex  and share in profits of exploration and production.
 
The conservative National Action Party (PAN), the PRI's natural ally on the energy revamp, is pushing for more lucrative contracts to be offered, such as concessions, and lawmakers say they are exploring options for a deeper reform.
 
Long the dominant force in Mexican politics, the PRI lacks a majority in Congress and needs PAN support to pass the energy bill, which is expected to happen later this month.
 
The PAN has made its support for the energy overhaul conditional on the electoral reform passing first.
 
In 2000, the PAN succeeded in ejecting the PRI from power after it had ruled for 71 consecutive years.
 
When Pena Nieto recaptured the presidency last year, opposition parties resolved to use their leverage in Congress to weaken the PRI's grip on the Mexican political system.
 
The electoral reform aims to do that, by giving more powers to voters in the process of electing lawmakers.
 
Senators, whose terms last six years, and lower house deputies, who serve three, will be allowed to sit in each respective chamber of Congress for up to 12 years. The bill also opens the door to direct re-election of local lawmakers.
 
At present, Mexican federal and state lawmakers cannot be directly re-elected to the same office. The reform foresees no change for the president, who can only serve one six-year term.
 
Once the electoral reform has cleared Congress, all eyes will turn to the government's energy plan.
 
That bill forms part of a package of reforms encompassing efforts to open up the telecommunications sector, improve bank lending and strengthen the tax take which the government hopes will help boost weak growth in Latin America's no. 2 economy.
 
The leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which is opposed to opening the oil sector to private investors, withdrew from the cross-party pact last week, raising hopes the PRI and the PAN will agree to a more far-reaching energy reform.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Canadian Authorities Seek More Power to Thwart Terror Suspects

Canada's PM Harper he'll press for speedy OK to track terror suspects abroad, and to detain people in the country suspected of plotting attacks
More

Brazilians Set to Choose New President

President Dilma Rousseff and Senator Aecio Neves face each other in weekend runoff
More

FARC Rebel Gets 27 Years in US Prison for Hostage-Taking

Alexander Beltran Herrera responsible for kidnapping three Americans whose plane crash-landed in Colombia
More

Canadian Shooter's Mother ‘Mad’ at Son

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's mother, Susan told the Associated Press part of her 'wants to hate' her estranged son, who killed a soldier in Ottawa
More

Canadian Couple Accused of Spying in China Held in Near Isolation

Treatment of the couple, who are being held without charge at a remote facility in the border city of Dandong, has seriously strained China's ties with Canada
More

Mexico Governor Resigns After Student Disappearances

Students from a rural teachers training college went missing after a confrontation with police in the town of Iguala on September 26
More