April 5, 2018 / 4:20 PM / 3 months ago

Mexico's election front-runner won't end energy reform: adviser

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will not scrap sweeping energy reforms that ended a decades-long state monopoly if he wins the election, one of his top advisers told daily newspaper El Universal

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gestures while addressing supporters during a campaign rally in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Olga Sanchez Cordero, the leftist candidate’s pick to serve as interior minister, said in comments published on Thursday that if Lopez Obrador is elected he would review contracts - signed since Mexico passed legislation in 2013 ending Pemex’s monopoly - to look for signs of corruption.

“Andres will not cancel the energy reform,” Sanchez Cordero, a former supreme court justice, told the paper.

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) arrives at a campaign rally in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Foreign investors and energy companies are paying close attention to what might happen.

Lopez Obrador holds a double-digit lead in most polls for the July 1 election. He has been a critic of the energy reform, variously threatening to dismantle it and to run checks on the oil and gas contracts issued under it.

A two-thirds super-majority in Congress would be needed to undo the constitutional reforms that ended state oil company Pemex’s nearly 80-year monopoly over the industry. Most analysts regard that prospect as highly unlikely.

So far, the reform has yielded a series of competitive oil auctions that have resulted in more than 100 exploration and production contracts with foreign and private producers.

Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Susan Thomas

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