Mexico’s PRI Likely to Win Majority in Congress, Poll Shows

Mexico’s opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party probably will win a majority in both congressional houses in July’s election, paving the way for a bill to increase private investment in the oil industry, according to an opinion poll.

An alliance of the PRI and the Green Party will gain 265 of 500 lower house seats and 67 out of 128 senate seats, in the worst case scenario, Mexico City-based Consulta Mitofsky said today. The PRI’s presidential candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, has 38.5 percent of voter preferences, the poll showed.

Pena Nieto said in a Nov. 16 interview that he’ll stake his success on increasing private investment in the country’s oil industry, and eventually look to sell shares in state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos to the public. A public share offering in Pemex, as the company is known, would require the support of two thirds of both chambers in the congress.

“There is a very high possibility that the PRI is going to have a majority” in both houses, said Fluvio Ruiz, a member of the Pemex board, in an interview yesterday. Controlling both houses and the presidency “improves the possibility of reforms,” he said.

Pena Nieto has sustained his lead over rival candidates after the first of two televised debates on May 6. In Mitofsky’s poll two weeks ago, he had 38 percent of voter preference.

Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party won 21 percent support in today’s poll, compared with 22 percent in the previous survey, while Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution had 19 percent, up from 18 percent.

The poll taken May 7 to May 9 of 1,000 people in their homes had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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