Mexico's Calderon pledges to back Pena Nieto reforms: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 15, 2012 8:42 AM
Mexico's Calderon pledges to back Pena Nieto reforms: report

MADRID (Reuters) - Mexico's outgoing President Felipe Calderon will push through reforms until the end of his term and will support the reform plans of his successor and rival Enrique Pena Nieto, Calderon told Spain's El Pais newspaper.

Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the presidency in July on a platform of ambitious, market-friendly tax, labour and energy reforms but his plans could hit snags in Congress after the PRI failed to win a majority in either chamber of legislature.

He has asked rivals to rally around his reform plans and last week named a team of advisers to help negotiate deals in the new Congress.

The PRI, which has both populist and pro-business leanings, helped block some of Calderon's market-friendly reforms.

"Not only will I, and the government of the Republic, cooperate (with the PRI) but we will continue to push through reforms," Calderon told El Pais in an interview published on Sunday, indicating that new energy, labour and tax measures may be pushed through before his term ends.

The new Congress convenes in September and PRI lawmakers have said there will be a window of opportunity to push through some economic reforms before Pena Nieto takes office in December.

Pena Nieto, whose election win brings the once-dominant PRI back to power after more than a decade on the sidelines, has promised to spur growth in Latin America's No. 2 economy with more job creation, improved tax collection and increased private investment in state-run oil monopoly Pemex to turn around a slide in oil production.

Mexico's economy is hampered by monopolies and inefficiencies, posing a challenge for Pena Nieto as he bids to lift economic growth, which has averaged 2.6 percent annually over the last two decades, to 6 percent a year.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), told El Pais that he did not rule out another role in politics.

"There's a lot to do because I think the work that this administration started must continue," he said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Susan Fenton)