Lopez Obrador’s 12 legislative priorities include the derogation of Peña Nieto’s education reform and the reversal of water privatization.
Mexico’s newly elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, better known as AMLO, has sent a list of his 12 legislative priorities to the senators and representatives elected on the National Renewal Movement (Morena) ticket.
The list contains the inclusion of electoral fraud as a grave felony; the derogation of outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto’s education reform; a reduction in salaries for high-level public workers; a law to regulate minimum wage increases; a legal reform for the creation of a Secretariat of Public Security; a constitutional reform to allow criminal prosecutions against presidents, and the reversal of Peña Nieto’s executive decree allowing the privatization of water.
Peña Nieto’s so-called education reform was approved despite widespread opposition and a series of protests that were brutally repressed by Mexico’s security forces.
The CNTE union, which represents some 200,000 teachers in rural areas, was the reform’s main detractor. It said the reform worsened teachers’ working conditions by allowing their dismissal after one evaluation that fails to take into account the specialist knowledge needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities.
During the 2016 nationwide protests, teachers denounced the increasing privatization and homogenization of education due to the reforms.
On the campaign trail, AMLO vowed to implement an education program which understands education as a right, not a privilege. Among the proposals are a basic nutrition program for schools in marginalized zones, and a 2,400 pesos (about US$130) scholarship to ensure students don’t abandon their studies for economic reasons.
AMLO’s proposed education reform will be based on “an agreement with teachers and parents to improve the quality of education in our country.”
On the security front, AMLO affirmed that Peña Nieto’s 2013 decision to replace the Secretariat of Public Security with the National Security Commission, which is part of the controversial Secretariat of the Interior, “did not work.”
According to Alfonso Durazo, who will head the new agency, the security strategy will rely first and foremost on a corruption probe into security forces. “There is no organized crime that does not go hand in hand with police protection,” Durazo said earlier this month.
Meanwhile, AMLO has said he will assume responsibility for leading all security forces: “There will be a sole command. We will never order state repression against protesters.”
Last month, Peña Nieto cleared the way for water extraction in 300 previously protected areas – which include as much as 55 percent of Mexico’s surface water – by mining, fracking and oil companies for the next 50 years via executive decrees. The decision was criticized as ‘water privatization.’
The executive decrees invalidate about 50,000 previous water concessions granted for life to agrarian and rural communities decades ago in favor of urban areas. AMLO urged his party’s legislator to nullify the decrees.
AMLO’s other urgent legal reform is the establishment of a mechanism to allow popular referendums to revoke a president’s mandate. AMLO urged legislators to “remove all obstacles or locks for the application of popular referendums that must have a binding character with the goal of upholding participative democracy.”
During his electoral campaign, AMLO said issues such as the legalization of abortion and marriage rights for LGBTQI couples will be decided through popular consultations.
Legislators elected in the July 1 national and local elections will begin their term on September 1, when Morena legislators will begin promoting these reforms.