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Analysis

Peña Nieto's First 100 Days

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 14:37

Moving Mexico towards progress is President Peña Nieto’s main goal during his presidential term. His e†orts during the first 100 days of his term were focused on the ideals that he aligned himself with on his first day of mandate. By firmly stating the commitments of his government, President Peña Nieto publicly set milestones, so that the population would be able to evaluate the success of his presidential term in five main areas: peace, social inclusion, quality education, sustainability and energy prosperity, and global responsibility

In the first three months and ten days of his administration President Peña Nieto has achieved important progress in several of these areas. He started out by signing a political agreement with the country’s main parties, rallying them in favor of structural reforms and development goals. President Peña Nieto later managed one of the most important political feats in Mexico’s recent political history: the arrest of the politically powerful Elba Esther Gordillo, leader for the National Education Workers’ Union (SNTE), and with it, apprehending the main opponent to a qualitybased education reform that would grant teaching positions based on merits and not inheritance. The education reform was passed under the tacit warning that corruption and opposition to the greater good would not be tolerated under the new PRI mandate.

Arguably the most significant success within Peña Nieto’s first 100 days is the political consensus he has managed to achieve, across the political parties that form Mexico’s Congress. “The new administration surprised everyone by negotiating the Pact for Mexico with all the political actors involved in government,” states Jesús Reyes Heroles, former CEO of Pemex. “The pact broke the paradigm of the last ten years, where there was not enough representation or governability to introduce significant reforms. The political agreement to join forces, diagnose the state of the country, and combine e†orts in order to benefit Mexico was unprecedented, and the President was one of the key forces behind the achievement. The main legislative battles that the present administration is fighting have the approval of all political forces. President Peña Nieto has relied on political ability and wit to create legislative agreements that facilitate dialogue and consensus around the di†erent political ideas that abound in Congress. This cooperation will be crucial in achieving a lasting and comprehensive energy reform. “The second most important achievement of this administration, is the pace at which it has moved to implement this agreement and materialize its agenda,” Reyes Heroles comments. “They have used political savvy to move swiftly and e†ectively to streamline the changes that are needed.” As David Penchyna, President of the Senate Energy Commission, believes, the President has been brave to pick subjects that were originally vetoed by the PRI and succeeded in changing the mentality within his own party with the country’s interests in mind. Under this disposition, the party has already modified its own bylaws to allow further openness in Pemex and in the energy sector

President Peña Nieto’s first 100 days created a platform for reaching consensus and overcoming political differences in Congress, which will pave the way for a comprehensive energy reform to be passed, followed by a proper fiscal reform.

CREATING COMMON GROUND FOR THE ENERGY DEBATE AND FUTURE POLICY DECISIONS

“There is huge political diversity in Congress: the governing party, the PRI, does not own the majority of the seats in either of the Chambers,” states Senator David Penchyna, President of the Senate Energy Commission. “However, there is clarity within the presidency and some ideological agreement among the legislative branch, both in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Proposals by the PAN and the PRD are on the table and the dialogue is ongoing: there may be many topics on which we do not see eye to eye with other parties, but we now have common ground from which to start working, and the openness to debate. These energy reform proposals are good news for the energy sector, and are based on the idea that the past reform was insu·cient due to political challenges to the legislation; we have high expectations that we will achieve progress through a new comprehensive reform.”