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Major parties sign president’s ‘Pact for Mexico’

December 7, 2012

Wasting no time to initiate much-needed reforms, Mexico’s newly elected chief executive flew the flag for “tripartisanship,” signing the “Pact for Mexico” within 24 hours of his inauguration.

“The country must be transformed without delay,” President Enrique Peña Nieto said at Chapultepec Castle Sunday, December 2 after unveiling the blueprint for increased economic growth, employment and competitiveness, approved by leaders of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), as well as his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The agreed commitments include 95 of Peña Nieto’s 266 campaign promises, such as pensions for people over 65, concessions for two new national television stations, measures to fight poverty and corruption and to improve education, security, justice and transparency.

While Peña Nieto called it an “unprecedented and important” agreement for Mexico, the non-binding agreement is essentially just a statement of intent, as opposition parties could withdraw their support at any moment and the document does not spell out exactly how all of these ambitious aims are to be realized.

The pact reflects the non-ideological nature of the PRI, with commitments aimed at drawing support from the both the left and the right. While Pemex will remain in government hands, the pro-business PAN will have been encouraged by plans to revise mining royalties and open up the refining and the transportation of oil and gas to competition.

Likewise, the PRD will have been appeased by plans to create two new free-to-air television networks, which would reduce the power of Televisa – widely criticized for its pro-Peña Nieto bias during the election – and educational reforms that would wrestle back power from the controversial and corrupt teacher’s union headed by Elba Esther Gordillo.

Jesus Zambrano, the national leader of the PRD, said signing the pact was “a risk worth taking,” noting that the election had showed that “no single political force can push through their proposals or resolve the grave problems facing the country.”

Yet some party members considered signing the pact a form of betrayal. PRD Secretary General Alejandro Sanchez Camacho said Zambrano signed it in “a personal capacity,” in an action that did not represent the entire party.

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