Mexican president casts lawmakers against key bill as ‘traitors’

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at a conference prior to the inauguration of the new Felipe Angeles Airport in Zumpango municipality in Mexico State, Mexico March 21, 2022. REUTERS/Luis Cortes/File Photo

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MEXICO CITY, April 5 (Reuters) — Mexico’s president on Tuesday ramped up pressure on opposition lawmakers to support a constitutional energy reform a day after they said they would reject the bill, suggesting those who did not would be «traitors» to the country.

The bill, which congressional leaders have said they want to vote on next week, is a central plank of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s drive to give greater control of the electricity market to the state over private companies.

He argues that past governments rigged the market in favor of private capital, but his attempts to renegotiate contracts and give state-run energy companies priority have upset business groups and many of Mexico’s traditional diplomatic allies.

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The day after an alliance of opposition parties said it would not support his constitutional reform, Lopez Obrador cast the debate as a matter of patriotic urgency that pitted the interests of the state against foreign companies. read more

Speaking at a news conference, he forecast that some opposition lawmakers would support his bill, and said it was time for them to show which side they were on.

«Let them reveal themselves, so they’re real representatives of the people, not employees of entrenched interests, traitors to the country,» Lopez Obrador said.

His remarks came as the Supreme Court prepared to debate the constitutionality of an electricity law promulgated in March 2021 which bolstered state control of the market. Courts later suspended the law on the grounds it breached antitrust rules.

The top court adjourned without voting on motions proposed by Justice Loretta Ortiz to dismiss challenges to the law. Ortiz is a former lawmaker in the president’s ruling party who he tapped to serve on the court. It will reconvene on Thursday.

The court’s debate on Tuesday suggested there may be enough votes to uphold the 2021 law, but with possible changes.

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Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Pullin

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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