President Peña Nieto’s first 100 days have been marked by a great deal of activity and a feeling of high expectation among most Mexicans. The president’s closest team of officials has been working hard on various aspects of his electoral promises and the 95 commitments contained in the ‘Pact for Mexico.’ The same is true for the PRI leadership in Congress and the 19 state governors that represent the ruling political party.
While there appears to be a decision to delay presenting urgent energy and fiscal reform packages to Congress, there is nonetheless a flurry of activity on many other fronts. Education and telecommunications reform are among the highest priorities, but there has also been progress on judicial reform with important changes to the ‘amparo’ regulations already approved by an overwhelming majority of the lower house of Congress, a renewed push for those jurisdictions to implement oral trials to do so well before the 2015 deadline, a national campaign to fight hunger, a gubernatorial commitment to implement unified state police forces and several high-profile administrative changes that do not need congressional approval. Peña Nieto apparently believes that addressing low-hanging fruit first will make it easier for the more difficult energy and fiscal reforms to be successfully approved in the second half of the year.
While the ‘Pact for Mexico’ has so far been a cohesionary force among the three main political parties, the true test of its strength will come when the administration presents its energy and fiscal reform proposals. Internal divisions in the PAN and PRD might well interfere with the government’s ability to hold the various factions together for the two thirds majority it needs to pass constitutional changes.