What Happened: Mexico's Congress has approved a constitutional reform to create a national guard, Reuters reported March 14. At the same time, the lower house has passed a separate charter reform proposal to facilitate more frequent referendums, including a popular vote on whether to keep the president in power, after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador indicated that he intends to hold such a referendum in 2021.
Why It Matters: The creation of a national guard is part of Lopez Obrador's security reform proposals, which aim to reduce the role of the military in fighting criminal groups. Lopez Obrador has also made formal and informal referendums a key part of his appeal for direct democracy, although easing the constraints on popular votes on various issues might increase investment risks for foreign businesses.
Background: Constitutional reforms in Mexico must receive support from two-thirds of both houses of Congress, as well as backing from a simple majority in 17 state legislatures.
- Mexico: The President's Energy Nationalism Creeps Forward (Feb. 11, 2019)
- Mexico: The Government's Offensive Against Fuel Thefts Expands, As Do Shortages (Jan. 8, 2019)
- Mexico: A Budget Proposal's New Plan for Energy (Dec. 17, 2018)