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  • With the new law, the state owned oil company Pemex will share oil and gas production with private companies, both domestic and foreign. (Photo: Reuters)

    With the new law, the state owned oil company Pemex will share oil and gas production with private companies, both domestic and foreign. (Photo: Reuters) | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 October 2014

The High Court has 20 days to allow or ban the referendum

The Mexican Supreme Court of Justice will analyze over the next three weeks the referendum request to ban the recently approved energy reform that was pushed by President Enrique Peña and that opened up the oil and gas industry to private investment for the first time.

The president of the high court, Minister Juan N. Silva, was the one who admitted the request, after the National Electoral Institute (INE) announced that the more than 2 million signatures submitted by the National Regeneration Movement party (MORENA) were real.

The MORENA referendum proposal asks if the voter agrees with the participation of private companies in the oil industry.

Experts and activists have warned that the energy reform will prompt more corruption, benefit the richest minority of Mexico and cause capital flight. Oil is the most important source of income for Mexico.

According to Mexican law, in order to request a referendum on any specific law, a political party or an organization has to gather at least 2 million signatures, equivalent to 2 percent of the national voter registration list.

The first step is to hand those signatures to the INE, which verifies the authenticity of each signature. Then, the request has to be analyzed by the high court, which can allow it, ban it or modify it.

Mexico’s constitution states that a referendum is illegal when it restricts human rights, it proposes to change the political structure of the country, when it modifies the electoral legislation, when it touches income and expenditure of the Mexican government or if it threatens national security.

It is expected that in upcoming days, the INE will announce if the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) referendum request on the same issue was approved.

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