Mexican left says no need for constitutional changes on energy

Mexico City, Jun 25 (EFE).- The center-left PRD on Tuesday rejected President Enrique Peña Nieto's recent assertion that Mexico needs to change its constitution to carry out an overhaul of state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos and the rest of the energy sector.

"Constitutional reforms are not required to propel and modernize Pemex and the energy industry," PRD chairman Jesus Zambrano said during a briefing for reporters.

Accompanied by two-dozen leading figures in the party, he outlined an energy proposal that includes modifications to 12 existing laws and one new piece of legislation.

The PRD set out its position following Peña Nieto's recent comments to the Financial Times, in which the center-right president talked of the need for constitutional changes to reassure private investors he hopes will put money into Mexico's oil industry.

"The left is indispensable and irreplaceable in the debate over the energy reform," Zambrano said.

"On this issue," he added, "we are united. We have full agreement in the heart of the PRD and in the left, and we are closing ranks."

PRD founder Cuautehmoc Cardenas - son of President Lazaro Cardenas, who nationalized Mexico's oilfields in 1938 - called on the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the conservative PAN to put forward their own specific proposals for the energy sector.

The PRI and PAN must "tell us what they want to privatize in the realm of the oil industry, which sectors, for what reasons, with what procedures, which laws need to be changed," Cardenas said.

The previous 2006-2012 PAN administration saw its efforts to overhaul Pemex blocked by the PRD and some elements within the PRI which accused then-President Felipe Calderon of aiming for the complete privatization of the state oil giant.

Pemex, the world's fifth-leading oil producer, has a monopoly on the production of crude and natural gas and refined products in Mexico.