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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/12/2013 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Government vows to push ahead, in spite of disruptions

Mexico's Senate approved by a wide majority to permit the biggest oil industry opening in 75 years. The Senate sent it to the lower house, where left-leaning protestors  padlocked doors to the chamber in order to halt lawmakers from debating the bill.

As the bill won approval, senators from the opposing leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution shouted 'Ask the people.' PRI and PAN senators replied by punching the air to cries of 'Mexico.'

As the bill won approval, senators from the opposing leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution shouted "Ask the people." PRI and PAN senators replied by punching the air to cries of "Mexico."

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/12/2013 (4 months ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Mexico, oil privatization, leftists, protests, President Enrique Pena Nieto


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The world's 10th largest oil producer, the measure was backed by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI and the opposition conservative National Action Party, or PAN. The measure was sent to the lower house for debate and final approval.

The Mexican government aims to pass the bill this week. Leftists rose up to occupy the speaker's podium, piling up chairs to block walkways to the chamber. Protestors also sealed other doors with chains and padlocks.

In spite of these efforts, it's highly unlikely that there will be a delay in approving the bill, which passed the Senate with more than two thirds of the lawmakers' votes. If the bill is passed by the lower house, there would still be the needed approval by the legislatures of 17 of Mexico's 31 states.

President Enrique Pena Nieto has pledged a series of reforms, and so far this is the crown jewel of his campaign platform. Nieto's reforms have also targeted education, the tax system and telecommunications. The overhaul of the national oil industry is considered by far the most crucial in the overall economy and the remaining five years of Pena Nieto's presidency.

Under the new legislation, contracts could be made directly with the state rather than with the state-run oil company, which would lose its monopoly on Mexican oil. The bill would allow contracts for profit- and production-sharing as well as licenses under which companies would pay royalties and taxes to the Mexican government for the right to explore and drill.

On the other hand, private companies would have to specify in contracts that all oil and gas found belongs to Mexico. The new constitution will continue to prohibit oil concessions, considered the most liberal kind of access for private oil companies.

As the bill won approval, senators from the opposing leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution shouted "Ask the people." PRI and PAN senators replied by punching the air to cries of "Mexico."

"We have a good reform for Mexico," David Penchyna, a PRI lawmaker who heads the Senate energy committee said. "Let us imagine a more productive country, with more competition, more transparency and less corruption."

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