UPDATE 1-Mexican opposition party re-elects leader in boost for reforms

domingo 18 de mayo de 2014 23:28 GYT

(Updates with result of election, comment from PAN leader, reaction)

By Dave Graham

MEXICO CITY May 18 (Reuters) - The leader of Mexico's biggest opposition party comfortably won re-election on Sunday, boosting President Enrique Pena Nieto's efforts to enact measures to open up the oil industry and increase competition in the telecoms sector.

The center-right National Action Party (PAN), has been badly divided by an internal power struggle centering on how far the party should cooperate with Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which lacks a majority in Congress.

In the election, PAN leader Gustavo Madero, who has worked with Pena Nieto to pass reforms, defeated his younger rival Ernesto Cordero, a former finance minister keen to push the party in a direction more critical of the government.

Pena Nieto has relied on PAN votes to help push through laws, including a bill in December to end Mexico's 75-year-old oil and gas monopoly that is the central plank of his efforts to end years of underperformance by Latin America's second biggest economy.

The two parties also worked together on a major overhaul of the telecoms and broadcasting industries dominated by multi-billionaire Carlos Slim and broadcaster Televisa respectively.

Both reforms still need rules and regulations to be set out in so-called secondary legislation, but disputes in Congress, partly due to PAN infighting, have delayed the approval process.

After preliminary results showed Madero won nearly 57 percent of votes cast by PAN members, the party leader quickly turned to the legislation pending in Congress.   Continuación...