Will Mexico’s Energy Regulators Lose Clout Under AMLO?
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador last month accused Guillermo García Alcocer, the head of Mexican energy regulator CRE, of conflicts of interest and called on him to step down amid an investigation into the regulator’s alleged involvement in a money laundering case. The allegations against García Alcocer, who denies wrongdoing, come at a tumultuous time for the regulator, after four commissioners left in less than two months and López Obrador slashed its budget for this year by 30 percent. What is the probe about? What can be expected of the CRE under López Obrador’s administration, and how has the cut in funding affected the regulator’s functions? Is the agitation between the government and the CRE rattling investors?
Christian Wagner, political analyst at global risk analytics firm Verisk Maplecroft: “The probe is looking into García Alcocer because of his brother-in-law’s activities as an executive and stakeholder in several electricity and gas companies, and allegations that the brother-in-law was involved in tax evasion and money laundering. García Alcocer disclosed the relationship in his conflict of interest declaration before he took up his post in 2016 and recused himself from any decisions involving those companies. The government’s accusations came after García Alcocer criticized AMLO’s proposed candidates for CRE commissioners, given their lack of sector expertise, their political party connections and their weak interviews before the Senate, in which they lacked knowledge about the CRE’s activities. Overall, we expect the regulators to be gradually sidelined from major decisions and to gradually lose independence as AMLO replaces commissioners. After the loss of the four commissioners, the CRE has lacked the quorum needed to hold sessions and approve permits. The budget cuts have also obliged the CRE to cut 54 senior positions. Moving forward, several appointments will give AMLO a majority on the CRE board, as well as greater influence on…”Read More
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