Tag Archives: Beltrones

PRI challenges President on budget, calls for tax cuts

Even as the PRI leadership – Manlio Fabio Beltrones, Beatriz Paredes, and Francisco Rojas – met privately with President Calderón to discuss budget priorities, the party published an open letter to the President calling for an economic package with no new taxes and a rollback of the value added tax (VAT) from 16 to 15%. Undersecretary of Finance José Antonio Meade said the budget, to be delivered on the 8th, would keep all taxes unchanged from current levels and called the proposal to cut tax rates “irresponsible” given the decline in oil production. Meade said the budget to be proposed would have a deficit of about 0.4% of GDP, and that a 1% cut in the VAT would cost about Ps. 35 billion. (Universal 9/7)

What more has to happen?

Columnist Leo Zuckermann writes:

Frankly, I don’t understand. What has to happen in this country for the different political forces to sit down to discuss and fix the fight against organized crime? Haven’t the politicians paid attention to what’s been going on over the last two months? Haven’t they heard the message, as clear as it is terrifying, that the gangsters are sending? What are they hoping for?

Aside from the average of 200 killings per week, let’s remember what violent events have occurred in the last two months. They kidnapped a high-profile political figure — Diego Fernández de Cevallos. … The PRI candidate for governor of Tamaulipas … was ambushed and assassinated just a few days before the election. … In Michoacan, the convoy of the Public Security Ministry was ambushed in broad daylight on the Zitácuaro-Toluca expressway. … Ten federal policemen lost their lives. …. In Chihuahua a group of heavily armed men entered a drug rehab clinic and killed 19 patients. This Sunday, in Torreón, some 30 men armed to the teeth broke into a party and executed 18 persons. On Saturday, in Ciudad Juárez a car bomb exploded killing four. … It was a coldly calculated attack designed to assassinate federal policemen…. All of this in two months.

After the assassination of Rodolfo Torre, President Calderón called for a dialogue to discuss — and presumably to correct–the strategy in the fight against organized crime. Manlio Fabio Beltrones, the leader of the PRI in the Senate, has called for the same for a long while. This dialogue couldn’t happen until after the July 4th elections. The vote has come and gone, and the dialogue still hasn’t happened. Beltrones and other priistas say they are ready for a substantive discussion. … Some perredistas are also expressing interest …. For his part, the President has made changes in his team.  It would seem that everybody is ready.  What are you waiting for, gentlemen? Do it, before this accursed violence escalates yet again.

President meets with Beltrones on legislative agenda

President Calderón met with PRI Senate leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones to discuss the legislative agenda. The meeting marks a sharp break from the hostile interchanges between the Government and the PRI in the run-up to the elections–and the day after PRI party president Beatriz Paredes said, “We will negotiate nothing.” According to the Bajo Reserva column:

A bridge has opened. After the big confrontations with the PRI, Felipe Calderón met yesterday with the PRI Senate leader, Manlio Fabio Beltrones. And this was no casual encounter.  It was in [the presidential residence] Los Pinos. It’s known that they talked about the obvious: the pending structural reforms, insecurity, impunity, the war against the narcos, the urgent need for dialogue among the political forces. What isn’t known if they talked about the distancing of the President from the priistas, which dates from November 2009 and which flared up again a few days before July 4th. Why Senator Beltrones and not Beatriz Paredes? This question encapsulates, among many other things, just how things are: Is the President now operating as his own Secretary of Government?

The PRI/Beltrones political reform package

The PRI submitted their own political reform package in February. This summary is taken from Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones‘  exposition of the package in an op-ed in El Universal:

1. Give the Secretary of Government the authority to exercise Executive power, in the absence or incapacity of the President, until Congress acts to fill the vacancy.

2. Senate ratification for all cabinet officers, except the Secretaries of Army and Navy, as well as the heads of state agencies.

3. Eliminate proportional representation seats in the Senate, and reduce the size of the Chamber of Deputies to 400–300 direct election seats, and 100 proportional election seats.

4. Allow for the immediate re-election of federal and state legislators.  Senators eligible to be re-elected once (total 12 years), and Deputies twice (total nine years).

5. Call the ordinary commissions of Congress into session 30 days prior to the opening of the regular congressional session, to prepare draft legislation. Dock the pay of congressmen who miss commission meetings without a valid excuse.

6. Require the President to present his Informe in person to Congress, and establish procedures for comment and reply by the different parties and the Executive.

7. Require that unspent budget funds be returned for reallocation the following year, rather than be spent at the discretion of the executive.

8. Speed final review of public accounts, eliminate secret budgets, give new powers to the Superior Auditor of the Federation.

9. Establish referendums on issues of national importance.

10. Give autonomy to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Público).

11. Restrict constitutional immunity for public officials to official acts.

12. Give the human rights commission (CNDH) power to investigate grave violations of individual rights.

13. Implement methods for conciliation or arbitration between the states for boundary disputes.

14. Require that any suspension of rights and guarantees be ratified by Congress, and reviewed by the Supreme Court.

15. Create a National Identify Institute, to issue identity documents.

PRI promises own political reform package

The Senate started hearings on the President’s political reform package, with testimony from a broad range of academics. PRI Senate leader Beltrones said that the PRI would introduce its own political reform package in the first half of February. “We will present an initiative that … seeks to bring about a true reform that works,” he said. In response, Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont acknowledged the PRI’s role: “I believe that the PRI is a fundamental part of the reform effort; it can’t happen without the PRI, and the PRI shouldn’t be left outside the [discussion] space for the political, economic and social change that Mexico demands.” (Reforma 1/29, Excelsior 1/30)

PRI puts social agenda ahead of political reform

The leaders of the PRI in Congress, Manlio Fabio Beltrones and Francisco Rojas, said the party’s congressional delegations agreed to make their legislative priority measures to ease the impact of the recession on people’s lives, and not the President’s political reform package. These include lowering school fees and toll road charges, increased penalties for crooked weights and measures in fuel sales, and limits on credit card fees, among others. PRI Senate spokesman Carlos Jiménez Macías said, “This is an agreement based on the urgent needs of the country, not the President’s priorities.” (Excelsior 1/29)

PRI and PRD attack fuel price increases

Starting late December, the government began raising gasoline and other fuel prices to narrow energy subsidies. (In January 2009, President Calderón froze fuel prices as a response to the economic crisis.) The PRI and the PRD attacked the hikes, even though the price increases were implicit in the 2010 budget that both parties supported. PRI Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones called the President ‘deaf’ to congressional demands to protect basic consumption goods from price increases. PRD Senator Carlos Navarrete said Congress could vote a rollback and take away the authority of the Ministry of Finance to set prices. (Reforma 1/8-9)