Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Explaining the Lack of Reforms

There's been lots of talk in the past few days about Mexico's poor legislative productivity in the past term (including at least one attempt to downplay the lack of output), which just concluded. Here's Leo Zuckermann with an intra-party, electoral hypothesis:
According to Jesús Zambrano, vice president of the lower house, whom I interviewed yesterday, the reform was stopped by Mexico State deputies. I asked why. The perredista legislator answered that not just this reform [which dealt with constitutional changes], but all of the legislative work, is stopped up because of the division that exists between the PRI senators, led by Manlio Fabio Beltrones, and the PRI deputies, led by the governors, particularly Enrique Peña Nieto, in Mexico State. They can't agree.

I suspect that the division between the senators and the deputies of the PRI is due less to ideological differences than the presidential race. Beltrones and Peña Nieto are trying to carry water to their mill. Furthermore, the priístas are in the business of defending many interests groups well served by the status quo: those who reject reforms and apply pressure so that they remain in the freezer. Beyond that, many priístas think that they can win the next federal election in 2012 floating along, which is to say without moving at all the status quo.
This highlights the uncertainty that will accompany a Peña Nieto candidacy and, should he win, presidency. I agree that Peña Nieto's opposition is more directly a matter of electoral circumstances than ideological differences, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Peña Nieto will turn out to be a beltronista.

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