Monday, December 8, 2014
Peña Nieto wins support on security plan debate from all three major political parties, as the "Pact for Mexico" returns - at least for now
In a surprise development which will surely cheer the two year old administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto. the leaders of Mexico's three main political parties said today the Senate and House of Deputies will move ahead to immediately consider constitutional amendments forwarded to Congress by the president a week ago.
Those amendments, which would alter seven sections of the constitution, would enable the federal government to oust county governments which have been infiltrated by drug cartels and organized crime, and would replace more than 2,000 local police forces with 32 state-based ones under a new strategy known as the Unified Law Enforcement Command.
Peña Nieto's national security plan would also give Mexico's federal congress expanded authority in defining crimes and fixing the penalties, particularly with respect to offenses which generally have been within the purview of local jurisdictions. The net effect of the proposed changes, if approved, would be to federalize the Mexican criminal justice system in an unprecedented way. Peña Nieto sends proposed constitutional amendments to Mexico's Congress.
Leaders of the center right National Action Party (PAN), the center left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the far left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) said they will cooperate in reviewing the president's security package as well as other pending legislation in the remaining days of the current session, which ends Dec. 15. But they did not rule out a special emergency session.
Although party spokesmen emphasized that questions remain about the proposed amendments and that legislators have not yet arrived at a consensus, it appears likely that the security package will be approved by early next week, and that a contentious floor debate or parliamentary maneuvering will be avoided.
Manlio Fabio Beltrones, spokesman for PRI deputies, said that a joint Senate-House committee was studying the constitutional amendments and might offer revisions if so requested by legislators. But those would likely be more cosmetic than substantive.
The announcement suggested that at least a temporary return to the "Pact for Mexico" is now on the minds of most legislators, who have been preoccupied for more than two months with the case of 43 college students kidnapped and brutally executed in Guerrero state on Sept. 26.
The Pact for Mexico was a December 2012 agreement by Mexico's three major political parties to put aside partisan bickering and work together for the public's welfare. PRD angrily left the pact last year in protest over the Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) constitutional amendments, which were passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Mexico's federal congress on Dec. 11, 2013. Exit Stage Left: PRD says "The Pact for Mexico is dead." The PEMEX energy reforms were upheld by Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court on Oct. 30, after PRD twice challenged their legality.
Nov. 27 - Enrique Peña Nieto offers new security plan for Mexico
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