Mexico Congress to hold special sessions, buttressing reforms

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 12, 2013 10:53 PM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Congressional leaders of Mexico's main parties said on Wednesday they had agreed to hold two special sessions of Congress in July and August to tackle outstanding initiatives, paving the way for key energy and fiscal reforms to move forward in the autumn.

President Enrique Pena Nieto plans to send measures aimed at boosting Mexico's paltry tax take and overhauling ailing state-oil monopoly Pemex to Congress during the second regular session of Congress, which begins in September.

But an overhang of outstanding initiatives from the first congressional session, which ended in April, threatened to push back the much anticipated reforms.

The two extraordinary sessions agreed to on Wednesday would be held in the second halves of July and August respectively, said Emilio Gamboa, who heads the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Senate.

Representatives of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the conservative National Action Part (PAN) also agreed to the plan.

In the July session, lawmakers will discuss measures that would give more power to the transparency institute, regulate state debt, appoint a new leader for the election authority and create a new anti-corruption body.

In August, the legislators plan to draw up secondary laws to implement recently approved measures aimed at improving education and boosting competition in the telecoms sector, which is dominated by billionaire Carlos Slim.

Both special sessions are due to take place after charged regional elections in 14 states slated for July 7.

Opposition parties have accused the PRI of misusing state funds to win votes in states they govern, which has shaken the so-called "Pact for Mexico," signed by the government and major parties to push through reforms.

A financial reform aimed at boosting credit was also unveiled by the president in May but has not yet been approved.

(Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez; Editing by Alexandra Alper and David Brunnstrom)