-- Mexico may finally take politics out of managing the peso, devalued five times since 1976. A bill sent to Congress by President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon on Mar. 26 would give the Bank of Mexico full responsibility for exchange-rate policy. The central bank would also take charge of bank regulation in an effort to halt the lingering crisis in the industry and clean up scandals, such as attempts by drug bosses to muscle into the financial business.
The bank's strengthened powers mean that even if an opposition candidate wins the presidential election in 2000, a Zedillo nominee would continue to run monetary policy. Bank Governor Guillermo Ortiz Martinez started a six-year term in December.