MEXICO CITY — Mexican presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would review dozens of concessionary contracts signed under the country’s energy sector reform if elected to office.
In a roundtable talk with the Milenio television station aired late Wednesday, the leftist candidate said he would seek to revoke any contracts that did not benefit Mexico through appropriate legal channels.
“The procedure to revoke contracts, if they are bad, will be legal, we will not act in an authoritarian, arbitrary way,” said Lopez Obrador, who is leading polls for July 1 presidential elections.
Mexico’s oil and gas industry was under exclusive state control for decades, but current President Enrique Pena Nieto opened the sector to private firms under contracts that enabled the government to obtain a percentage of the production or profits.
Other proposals mentioned also represented a break from the past. Lopez Obrador said he would repeal an educational reform that mandated teacher testing and took hiring decisions out of the hands of unions, angering some of the country’s more radical groups.
“We are going to cancel the so-called educational reform,” Lopez Obrador said. “You cannot have an education reform without teachers.”
Lopez Obrador is known to speak slowly and insert odd pauses, but he conversed fluidly during the roundtable.
He promised to reduce Mexico’s crime rate by 30 to 50 percent and repeated his pledge to create a “national guard,” coordinating police and military forces under a single command.
He also pledged to hold referendums every two years on whether he should remain in office and proposed public discussions or votes on thorny issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
Lopez Obrador, who has gained support from evangelical Christians, avoided discussing his own personal views on those issues, saying he wants to focus first on areas where there is broad agreement, like fighting corruption.
He called corruption the country’s “main problem.”
He also described the movement of his leftist Morena party as the nation’s “fourth transformation,” referring to the 1810-1821 independence movement, the 1855-1863 reform movement to weaken church control, and the 1910-1917 Revolution.