12 Legal Reforms of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
By – Lic. Daniel Gancz.
The current President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, began to promote reforms to numerous laws, with the purpose of initiating a profound change in Mexico. The following is a brief summary of the first 12 reforms that the current President intends to promote:
1. Regulatory Law of Minimum Wages.
This law refers to the initiative of the Federal Law for the Remuneration of Public Servants (hereinafter referred to as the “LFRSP”) published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on November 5, 2018, regulating articles 75 and 123 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (hereinafter referred to as the “CPM”). Said LFRSP establishes that no public servant may receive remuneration or compensation for the performance of their function, position, employment or commission, greater than that received by the President of Mexico.
2. Creation of the Secretariat of Public Safety.
Reforming the Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration, to create the Secretariat of Public Security and Citizen Protection (hereinafter referred to as “SSPC”). It is intended to grant the SSPC functions and powers similar to those currently performed by the Secretariat of the Interior in matters of public safety, such as matters of national security and civil protection in the event of natural disasters. If the proposed reform is approved, the SSPC would be in charge of the Federal Police, investigative faculties, preside over the National Council of Public Security, and be in charge of the National Intelligence Center (currently known as National Investigation and Security Center).
3. Abolition of Political Exemptions and Privileges.
Reforming article 108 and article 111 of the CPM, to abolish the ‘fuero’ and political privileges enjoyed by the President, so that he can be tried for electoral crimes and corruption offenses. Currently, these articles protect the acting President, so that he cannot be tried while he is in office. On the other hand, the President of the Senate, Martí Batres Guadarrama, will propose a reform to put an end to the same privileges and exemptions currently enjoyed by Senators and Members of Congress.
4. Classification of New Felonies.
Reform to article 9 of the CPM and article 167 of the National Code of Criminal Procedures, to consider as major felonies, without the possibility to obtain bail, the following criminal offenses:
- Sexual abuse or violence against minors;
- Use of social programs for electoral purposes;
- Forced disappearance of individuals and disappearance committed by individuals;
- Crimes relating to hydrocarbons, petroleum or petrochemicals;
- Crimes with firearms and explosives exclusively used by the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force;
- Transportation theft in any of its modalities;
- Crimes relating to corruption (illegal enrichment and abuse of authority)
- Electoral crimes (purchase of votes, using the budget to favor political parties and candidates, forgery of electoral ballots and certificates, and others);
- Issuance of false or apocryphal invoices; and,
5. New programs and projects to be included in the Revenue and Budget Act of 2019.
The draft of the Revenue and Budget Act of 2019 includes, among other matters, aid for several programs that form part of the so-called Wellbeing Plan, such as:
- Increase in pensions for the elderly;
- Pensions for people with disabilities;
- Scholarships for basic level students;
- Scholarships for high school and college students of $2,400 pesos per month;
- “Young people building the future” (Jóvenes construyendo el futuro), which consists of training young people to work;
- “Sowing life” (Sembrado de vida), which aims to create employments for sowing fruit and timber trees;
- “Maya Train” Project, which aims to build 1,500 kilometers of railway tracks; and,
- Reactivation of the Oil Industry.
6. Transfer the Presidential Guard to the Secretariat of National Defense.
Stemming from the decision of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to disappear the Presidential Guard, the head of the Secretariat of National Defense (hereinafter referred to as “SEDENA”) and the Chief of the Presidential Guard (hereinafter referred to as “EMP”) made the necessary arrangements so that SEDENA, as of December 1st, 2018, undertook command of all elements that make up the EMP and the Presidential Guard Corps, totaling around 8,000 elements.
7. Reverse Water Privatization Decrees.
There are plans to reverse the 10 water privatization decrees signed by former president Enrique Peña Nieto (hereinafter referred to as “EPN”). These decrees eliminated prohibitions at nearly 300 hydrological basins in the country. Likewise, each decree indicates the percentage of water that can be used and resourced from each basin, through concession titles granted to individuals. The reform aims to establish “water reserve areas for domestic, public, urban and environmental use, or for the ecological conservation of hydrological basins.”
8. Revoking of the Educational Reform.
There are plans to cancel the educational reform instituted by EPN, and instead present a new educational reform derived from a consultation to be conducted nationwide, where teachers, education experts, and parents express their views. Andres Manuel López Obrador argued that “the educational reform seeks for the entire structure to be guided towards a much more equitable situation in Mexico, with more emphasis and efforts for the poorest areas of Mexico, the less developed areas and regions. Make girls, boys, and teenagers the priority, and give them quality. It will be quality education and we will improve in the world ranking.”
9. Modify Article 3° of the CPM.
The reform of article 3 of the CPM consists of public and free education for all at every level, including high school and University. The purpose of this reform is to include higher education as a fundamental human right for all Mexicans.
10. Create the Revocation of Mandate.
It consists of creating the figure of the revocation of a mandate of the President of Mexico before the end of its term, for the following reasons:
- Loss of trust;
- Non-compliance with the work plan or campaign commitments;
- Acts of corruption or violation of laws.
The revocation of the mandated mechanism would be conducted via public consultation, which would be binding and mandatory. At the moment, the details of this procedure are unknown.
11. Reforms on an increase to the minimum wage at the border.
There are plans to apply reforms to the Unique Self-Determination System of the Mexican Social Security Institute, with the purpose of increasing the minimum wage (hereinafter referred to as “SM”) in the States that make up Mexico’s northern border, as of January 1st, 2019 to be set at $176.72 pesos.
12. Adjust the Administration to the austerity plan.
The purpose of this initiative is to carry out changes in laws, regulations, decrees or agreements to adjust the government’s administrative structure to the austerity plan, which would involve merging areas, eliminating undersecretaries, delegations and other agencies in the government offices to reduce public expenses in general.
The items included in the initiative for the Austerity Plan Act are the following:
- Eliminate retirement pensions for former presidents of Mexico;
- Avoid the creation of new positions in the public sector;
- Reduce salaries and benefits for public officials that form part of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches;
- Restrict the use of bodyguards, security forces, private secretaries and advisors;
- Limit the use of State-owned vehicles;
- Restrict spending on official propaganda;
- Incorporate officials into the public social security systems;
- Restrict private medical and life insurance policies charged to the treasury;
- The creation of trusts, funds intended to make contributions of any nature that alter the rules of discipline and honest practice of public expenses will be prohibited;
- Limit the number of official trips abroad for each public servant;
- Limit room and board expenses for public servants;
- Limit all operating expenses of government offices.
Please note that this document is intended to be an alert and for informational purposes only. Thus, this document does not constitute any form of legal opinion or recommendation and should be used solely as a guide.
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