The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), questioned the validity of six proposed lists for new Commissioners of Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) and the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE). The reason that AMLO gave for them being invalid, was that they were only approved by two members of the Evaluation Committee, as opposed to all three. He believes that a third member, which is now part of the Executive Power, should be part of this committee.
Under the Constitution, the IFT and COFECE should have seven Commissioners; however, both agencies are currently operating with four. A reduced number of Commissioners hampers the institutions’ legal faculties and ability to regulate their respective sectors efficiently. Moreover, it reduces diversity in opinions while increasing the weight of each commissioner’s position in a vote. With seven commissioners, the weight of a commissioner’s vote was 1/7 (14%); now, the weight is 1/4 (25%). Since there are currently only four commissioners, the Chairman’s vote defines the outcome, so in practical terms, two votes could resolve an issue.
This development could have severe implications for the private sector, especially for the digital economy and telecommunications, limiting the scope of action in the following fields:
- Order measures to eliminate barriers to free competition, as well as the divestment of assets from economic agents to eliminate anti-competitive effects.
- Release regulatory provisions, including sanctions, monopolistic practices, determination of substantial power, determination of relevant markets, barriers to competition and free market access, essential supplies, and asset divestiture.
- Issue its organic statute and appoint or remove strategic positions (i.e., Technical Secretary and Head of the Investigation Authority). If, for some reason, one of these people is unable to hold office, the position cannot be filled.
The role of the President is to send the proposals for Commissioners of IFT and COFECE to the Senate and consider the candidates selected by the Evaluation Committee. However, due to the President’s rejection of the proposed lists, the Judicial Power is currently reviewing if it should order AMLO to send his preferred proposal to the Senate.
For more information on how the operation of these institutions affect the tech sector, contact Fernando Borjon at email@example.com or Yamel Sarquis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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