Mexico's congress deal with first presidential veto since 1923
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico's congress struggled Friday to come to grips
with the first presidential veto of legislation since 1923, with more expressions of
anger and betrayal than any real attempt to override President Vicente Fox.
Thursday's veto of a rural development bill marked the latest stage of
struggle to create a real division of powers in Mexico, where the three branches
of government were largely subordinated to the presidency during the former
ruling party's seven decades in power.
"We are finally experiencing a real division of powers, and for the first
will get to see how the Constitution works in these cases," said congressman
Felipe Calderon, a member of Fox's conservative National Action Party.
Fidel Herrera, a senator for the former ruling party, one of the bill's
said one option would be to try for a two-thirds majority to override the veto.
"We think this severe method of using the veto is both senseless and shows
respect for the division of powers," Herrera said. However, most observers say
National Action's strength in congress would make it almost impossible to get the
majority needed to override the veto.
The bill -- proposed by the former ruling party, or PRI, and the country's
leftist party, and passed in a December congressional vote -- would have sought
funds to support the nation's farms, and designated rural regions for special help.
Fox's spokeswoman, Martha Sahagun, said he vetoed the law because he
thought it was costly and bureaucratic, left out some poor and Indian groups,
and focused exclusively on farms without providing aid to fishing and forestry.
President Alvaro Obregon issued the last known veto in 1923, against a
federal budget. Since that time, congress mainly served as a rubber stamp for a
71-year succession of presidents from the PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary
No vetoes were needed, since congress initiated little legislation, and
parties were weakly represented.
That changed in 1997 -- when opposition parties broke the ruling party's
congressional majority for the first time -- and when Fox became the first
opposition candidate to take office as president in December.
Fox said he would submit an alternate proposal on rural development soon.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.