Mexico City, Apr 17 (EFE).- Mexican lawmakers rejected Sunday the contentious electricity reform proposed by the country’s president as it failed to secure the two-thirds votes needed for its approval.
The reform championed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sought to give greater power to the state-owned utility, Federal Electricity Commission, and would have limited the private sector’s participation in power generation to 46 percent.
After an over eight-hour long debate, the Mexican congress rejected the proposal with 275 votes in favor, 223 against and zero abstentions.
The ruling party needed a qualified majority in the plenary session, or two-thirds of the lawmakers present, for which at least 332 votes in favor were required, which were ultimately not secured.
The electricity reform has been criticized by the PAN PRI, PRD and Movimiento Ciudadano opposition parties as well as by the domestic and foreign private sector.
The United States government has also repeatedly reiterated its concern about the consequences of the approval of the reform.
The opposition had alleged that the initiative would lead to an increase in polluting gas emissions and higher electricity prices.
This is the first time that a bill proposed by the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) has been rejected.
Lopez Obrador said Sunday he already had a plan B in case his proposal was not approved during the plenary session.
“I already said so in my report on Tuesday: no matter what happens, we are already protected from betrayal. I will explain it again tomorrow,” the president wrote on his official Twitter account.
A new proposal is expected to be presented on Monday, signed by the president, which is an amendment to the mining law to allow lithium to be exploited only by the State and not by private parties.
The Mexican president had urged opposition legislators on several occasions to “rebel” and vote in favor of the reform so as not to be “traitors of the country.”
However, despite his pleas, the legislators rejected the reform that was to replace the one approved in 2013 during the mandate of Enrique Pena Nieto (2012-2018).
According to the Mexican government, under the power production program designed in 2013, 62 percent of the country’s power is generated by private firms and the remaining 38 percent by the Federal Electricity Commission. EFE