Energy Reform Vote Postponed to Easter Sunday
The Congressional vote on the energy reform suffers yet another delay. Due to the opposition’s absence of support, MORENA is still maneuvering to get the missing votes for the reform’s approval, which requires a supermajority. After publishing the reform’s ruling, MORENA postponed the vote until Easter Sunday, seemingly as a last resort.
On Monday, April 11, the joint commissions of Energy and Constitutional Issues approved the ruling for President López Obrador's energy reform. With 46 votes in favor, 36 against and zero abstentions, the parties of the ruling coalition, MORENA, PT and PVEM, prevailed over the opposing parties.
During the ruling’s approval, MORENA attempted to gain further support from the opposition by presenting a block of conditions to the ruling, which included 9 of the 12 proposals made by PAN, PRI and PRD. However, the ‘Go for Mexico’ block remained firm in its rejection of the reform, as issues regarding free competition and renewable energy production were kept out of the reform’s final proposal.
In the following attempt to convince the opposition, MORENA yielded and included one further condition, which eliminated the disappearance of the energy sector’s autonomous regulatory institutions, CRE and CNH. Nevertheless, the opposition once again refused to vote in favor of the reform, partly due to its distrust regarding the exact wording of the condition, which remained unknown by the time of the ruling’s approval.
Even after the modifications, the reform maintains key proposals such as the granting of 54 percent of the power production market to CFE, the label of lithium as a state-owned strategic mineral and the cancellation of contracts for the purchase and sale of electricity and generation permits in the private sector.
For the reform to go through, a qualified majority of 334 votes is required, which is an amount that MORENA does not have. MORENA and its allies, PT and PVEM, would contribute 277 votes, falling short by 57. Therefore, they need to convince deputies from the opposition parties. Those with the most votes to distribute are PAN, with 113 votes, PRI with 71 votes, MC with 24 and PRD with 15. All four opposition parties have announced their definitive vote against the reform.
The Vote Is Postponed Again
In addition to the ruling’s approval, MORENA chose at the eleventh hour to postpone the reform’s vote, without the opposition support. Now, the vote is to take place on Easter Sunday. The vote was initially scheduled for Tuesday, April 12. Thanks to their simple Congressional majority, MORENA and its allies approved the delay. The opposition parties alleged MORENA was trying to sabotage the vote.
Since the qualified majority is calculated based on the number of deputies that attended the parliamentary session that day, the opposition suspects MORENA is seeking to reduce the attendance of opposition legislators and thereby reduce the margin necessary for the constitutional reform to be approved. In response to these suspicions, PRI and PRD deputies mobilized to spend the night in Congress, to avoid being hindered from entering the session due to protests in favor of the energy reform or the activities of Easter Sunday.