May 7, 2013 / 9:44 PM / 7 years ago

Mexico opposition revives economic reform pact

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s main opposition parties said on Tuesday they would resume talks on sweeping reforms with the government, lifting a cloud over a cross-party pact that is the axis of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s economic agenda.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City May 2, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Opposition leaders said they had agreed on new measures with President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to preserve the pact, which is aimed at fueling growth in Latin America’s no. 2 economy.

“Contrary to doubts, the Pact for Mexico is in effect and is being maintained. Work is resuming,” Pena Nieto said.

Traders said the peso firmed on optimism about the rapprochement, and Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said via Twitter that Pena Nieto would present on Wednesday a financial proposal that was derailed by the spat.

Talks had stalled between the parties after a dispute 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.

The conservative National Action Party’s (PAN) chairman, Gustavo Madero, said leaders had agreed on an “addendum” to the pact aimed at boosting transparency and limiting corruption. He said his party would denounce any anti-democratic acts by the government.

“The PAN is conscious of its responsibility to take part in the Pact for Mexico because its reform agenda will benefit Mexicans ... But it is also conscious of its responsibility to stop authoritarianism taking hold,” said Madero.

The PRI, a byword for corruption and election rigging during seven decades in office, signed the pact with leaders of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the PAN in December when Pena Nieto ushered the PRI back into power.

The pact has helped Pena Nieto steer through major bills to improve the education system and to bring more competition into Mexico’s closed phone and television markets.

Measures aimed at boosting the country’s paltry tax take and overhauling the state-owned oil monopoly Pemex are on the agenda for later this year.

Editing by Simon Gardner and Mohammad Zargham

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