The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, introduced a bill in the Chamber of Deputies that would reduce the size of the lower house of Mexico's Congress by 20 percent and would trim the number of Senate seats by 25 percent.
The bill introduced Tuesday by Congresswoman Patricia Elena Retamoza calls for cutting the size of the Chamber of Deputies from 500 to 400 seats and reducing the Senate from 128 to 96 seats, a move that would lead to the emergence of clear majorities and save money.
The complex legislative system used in Mexico allots 300 deputies via relative majority and 200 others, who hold seats granted to the various parties that compete in elections based on the proportion of the vote they garner.
The political party winning the majority of the vote in each state gets two Senate seats, with one more seat going to the top minority party.
There are also 32 Senate seats that are distributed based on the proportional share of the vote that parties received across Mexico.
The bill would eliminate 100, or half the Chamber of Deputies seats, and 32 Senate seats currently distributed via the principle of proportional representation.
The difficulties experienced in achieving legislative majorities are due to a political representation system that in seeking plurality via a proportional representation system makes it "difficult to govern" and carries high costs, Retamoza told Efe.
"It's time to address the demands of a society that is calling for a modern Congress that will produce results without costing so much money. The reality is that there are too many of us and we cost a lot," the congresswoman said.
Mexican federal lawmakers are paid more than $12,000 monthly and receive additional compensation in the form of bonuses, life insurance and other benefits.
The constitutional reform proposed by Retamoza would create a new balance of power between the majority and minority parties by preventing the latter from enjoying disproportionate representation and an unjustified veto power.
President Felipe Calderon, whose term ends later this year, proposed cutting the size of Congress as part of a package of congressional reforms, but the initiative failed to win approval.
The PRI, which governed Mexico for seven decades and has been out of power since 2000, has now made a similar proposal, with debate on the bill expected to begin over the next few weeks at the committee level.
If approved by the full Chamber of Deputies, the Senate would also have to give the green light to the bill. The constitutional reform would then have to be approved by 17 of the 32 state legislatures. EFE