Mexican Senate passes electoral bill, clearing way for energy debate

SANDALS Resorts (300 x 250)

Mexico's President Pena Nieto addresses the audience during The Economist's Mexico Summit 2013 in Mexico CityMexico's Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved an electoral reform demanded by the opposition, helping pave the way for Congress to focus on an energy bill at the center of President Enrique Pena Nieto's economic agenda. Opposition conservatives demanded passage of the electoral legislation before they would provide their support for an energy bill that would open the state-controlled oil sector to private investment. Mexico's peso rallied on Tuesday after the leader of Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Senate said that lawmakers could turn to the energy bill as soon as the political reform was approved. Further boosting the peso, prominent Mexican leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was hospitalized with heart trouble, reducing the likelihood that he will be able to lead street protests against the energy plans.