November 26, 2018 / 4:37 PM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Next Mexico govt says train project, oil refinery backed by vote

(Adds details of public consultation)

MEXICO CITY, Nov 26 (Reuters) - The incoming Mexican government said on Monday that a weekend public consultation vote had approved 10 major policy proposals ranging from a new rail line connecting states in eastern Mexico and a new oil refinery in the Gulf of Mexico.

Public referendums could be a mainstay of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration’s six-year term after he takes office on Dec. 1 as he seeks a more participative democracy.

His incoming administration’s first consultation last month called for canceling the construction of a partially built $13 billion airport for Mexico City, a referendum Lopez Obrador had vowed to hold during the campaign.

Lopez Obrador used the results of that consultation to halt the airport project, leaving the peso currency and stock market reeling as investors fretted over how he would manage the economy.

About 950,000 people voted in the Nov. 24-25 consultation, representing around 1.1 percent of eligible voters.

All 10 policy points, including whether to guarantee access to healthcare to residents that currently lack those services, offer training and scholarships to 2.6 million young people, and to double pensions for citizens over 68 years old, received about 90 percent support or more, according to initial results.

Residents also voted to approve construction of the so-called Mayan Train, a rail line that will run 1,500 kilometers and connect five states in southern and eastern Mexico, and the development of a $2.5 billion refinery in Tabasco state.

Lopez Obrador’s incoming government has said the refinery will boost gasoline production and help cut growing fuel imports. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito Editing by Bill Trott)

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