Two-Camp Political Reform

MEXICO - Report 04 Jun 2013 by Veronica Ortiz, Mauricio Gonzalez and Guillermo Valdes

The Pact for Mexico's trajectory and legislative calendar were effectively re-written by the National Action Party (PAN) decision to denounce in April illegal efforts by federal and state officials to buy votes and sustain a clandestine election campaign system. The initial result was an addendum committing signatory parties to adopt political and electoral reform legislation before the next regular session of Congress that convenes September 1. But two rival camps are drafting the relevant legislation: the party leaders that meet under the auspices of the pact, and a majority of senators from the PAN and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

The pact has already presented its tentative proposals for their inclusion into a constitutional reform on election law, while the group of senators has offered only an outline of points, but one that extends to broader aspects of the political system, including transforming the federal government from a longstanding presidential system to a semi-parliamentary one. On the electoral level their proposals include many points that, at least in the medium term, would favor the chances of opposition candidates over those of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), such as the introduction of second round voting in presidential and gubernatorial elections and opening up the possibility of reelection (something that has long been constitutionally banned for all public office holders) in the case of legislators and municipal presidents.

Both groups have scheduled a series of public consultations designed both to enrich their proposals and line up public support before formally presenting their bills, presumably to be voted on in a special session of Congress to be held in August. It is still far from clear whether the two camps can find common ground or if they will collide head on with the group of senators potentially swaying their respective political party leaders.

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