08 November 2006

Congress clips president's wings

President Vicente Fox leaves office with a whimper in less than three weeks and now, perhaps in a final act of spite - or pettiness - Congress denied him permission to travel to Australia and Vietnam. (Fox has a daughter living in Australia. The APEC summit goes later this month in Vietnam.) In Mexico, the Congress and Senate must approve all presidential trips - a mere formality in the old days of PRI rule.

"I regret that lawmakers from the PRI refuse to listen to the voice of the people and aren't capable of acting responsibly to resolve local conflicts," he said, jabbing the PRI over the party's ongoing support for embattled Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz, whose resignation would surely help resolve the conflict in the southern state.

With Oaxaca smouldering and last Monday's bombs in Mexico City, an argument could be made that Fox should stay put, although, quite frankly, he's accomplishing little and seems to be just biding his time until Felipe Calderon takes power on Dec. 1. Going abroad wouldn't really change much.

The element of pettiness, though, is tough to ignore. Fox has bickered with Congress repeatedly. Legislators previously deep sixed plans to visit Canada and the United States back in 2002.

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