To revive his stagnant reform agenda, Mexican President Vicente Fox has reshuffled his Cabinet and replaced Energy Minister Ernesto Martens with Felipe Calderon, a former leader of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, which now controls Congress.

The move earlier this month followed Mexico’s midterm elections in July, when Fox’s party suffered a heavy political defeat. Fox has been under pressure to redo his Cabinet to prevent becoming a lame duck during the last half of his six-year term.

“I have decided to put politics at the center of all our actions,” Fox said of the Cabinet changes. “The coming months will be ones of intense work in favor of dialogue and agreements.”

In his annual state of the union address this month, Fox encouraged the opposition Congress to pass some of his initiatives to improve the sagging economy. Mexico needs tax and labor reforms to encourage sustainable growth. For the energy sector, he said that “relaunching sustained economic growth requires a solid energy infrastructure that is financially healthy and competitive.”

Calderon, a well liked and accomplished politician, apparently would placate PAN’s leadership, and may be better able to push Fox’s energy agenda in Congress, according to industry analysts. Martens, who had been in the private sector, failed to succeed in accomplishing needed energy reforms, said analysts, because he kept a low profile and had not had the political ties that Fox needed.

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