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Mexico’s president failed to secure enough votes in parliament to amend the constitution and implement a sweeping energy reform bill, which had spooked investors and the United States, the Financial Times reported Monday.
Opposition lawmakers in the lower house voted against the legislation, denying President Andrés Manuel López Obrador the two-thirds majority needed to pass the amendment.
The bill would have guaranteed Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) 54 percent of the market, and transformed the regulatory landscape for electricity: Changes would have included canceling power generating permits and prioritizing CFE electricity on the grid above private renewables.
The move would have overhauled the current system instituted by the opposition, which opened energy markets to private investors in 2013. López Obrador criticized the liberalization of the sector as corrupt and too favorable to private companies.
But critics and investors said the amendment would have had a negative impact on investment, the economy and the environment.
Analysts noted that Sunday’s vote was more of a political statement by López Obrador’s government to portray the opposition as favoring foreign energy companies.
The president had previously said he will immediately present a fresh effort to parliament to nationalize the country’s lithium resources if the reform was defeated.
Even so, it’s unclear how this will affect the private sector because Mexico’s lithium production mostly involves clay deposits that are difficult to mine.