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Looking for votes, Mexican ruling party delays debate on power reform

MEXICO CITY, April 11 (Reuters) - Mexico’s ruling party delayed on Monday a debate on a contentious electricity reform proposed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador until Easter Sunday, several days later than a scheduled vote.

Opposition parties have said they will not support the bill, initially set for a vote in parliament on Tuesday, which Lopez Obrador says will hold down energy prices and tighten state control of the electricity market.

Instead, they say, it could lead to higher costs, breach clean energy commitments and damage Mexico’s investment allure.

Lopez Obrador, who needs opposition support to muster a majority of two-thirds required for changes to the constitution, has publicly acknowledged that he may not have enough votes.

The delay will give opposition lawmakers more time to analyze the contents of the revised legislation, Aleida Alavez, deputy leader of Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) in the lower house of Congress, said on Twitter.

Social media posts showed opposition lawmakers had planned to spend the night in the lower house to avoid blockades on Tuesday.

“They threatened to mobilize and even block the pathway to democracy, but we got in ahead,” Alejandro Moreno, head of one of the main opposition groups, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, wrote on Twitter. “We’ll spend the night here.”

Earlier on Monday, Lopez Obrador said it would be akin to “treason” if lawmakers did not pass the reform. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera and Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Dave Graham and Clarence Fernandez)

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