Mexican parties agree to restart talks for economic reforms

MEXICO CITY Tue May 7, 2013 3:28pm EDT

MEXICO CITY May 7 (Reuters) - Mexico's main opposition parties said on Tuesday they would restart talks with the government on economic reforms after last month accusing the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of trying to buy votes in a local election.

At an event with President Enrique Pena Nieto, the opposition leaders said they had agreed on a series of measures with the PRI to uphold a pact to cooperate on economic reform.

Talks had stalled between the parties after a row in April over leaked video recordings showing members of the PRI advocating the use of Social Development Ministry funds to buy votes in the Gulf state of Veracruz.

Veracruz is one of 14 states that will hold local elections on July 7, and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said the parties had agreed that steps will be taken to stop public funds from being used to influence elections, along with various other measures.

The leaders of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the conservative National Action Party (PAN) signed a pact with Pena Nieto to work together on economic reforms just after he took office in December.

The so-called "Pact for Mexico" has been the cornerstone of Pena Nieto's efforts to promote reform, notably with major bills to improve the education system and to bring more competition into Mexico's closed phone and television markets.

"The pact cannot be a hostage of the elections," said Cesar Camacho, chairman of the PRI, which has no majority in Congress.

This year Pena Nieto still hopes to pass a sweeping overhaul of state oil monopoly Pemex and a comprehensive re-organization of the tax system to boost weak revenues. (Reporting by Dave Graham and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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