President Enrique Peña Nieto won election last year with a campaign calling for the opening of Mexico’s oil and gas sector to private ownership. That would require amending the Mexican Constitution. Previous such efforts, most recently by former president Felipe Calderón, have foundered. Stephen Zamora, director of the Center of U.S. and Mexican Law at the University of Houston, says things may be different this time.
“The Mexican Constitution has been amended many, many times — 500 times or so over the years. Amending the Mexican Constitution is not at all impossible. Something this important, however, is a political lightning rod. But I think if there’s anyone who could do it, it would be the PRI — the party led by President Peña Nieto.”
The PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party, holds the largest number of seats in Mexico’s Congress. But it lacks the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution on its own.