The Ministry of Government has launched a new website, www.reformapolitica.gob.mx, to lay out the government’s proposals for political reform. The site includes space for citizen comment, a library of various useful documents on political reform, information on public forums on the reform, and a variety of other materials.
The Senate started hearings on the President’s political reform package, with testimony from a broad range of academics. PRI Senate leader Beltrones said that the PRI would introduce its own political reform package in the first half of February. “We will present an initiative that … seeks to bring about a true reform that works,” he said. In response, Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont acknowledged the PRI’s role: “I believe that the PRI is a fundamental part of the reform effort; it can’t happen without the PRI, and the PRI shouldn’t be left outside the [discussion] space for the political, economic and social change that Mexico demands.” (Reforma 1/29, Excelsior 1/30)
An El Universal national telephone poll showed broad support for the concept of political reform (89% approval) and President Calderón’s proposal (69% approval). However, there is a low level of actual knowledge – only 20% said they knew the specifics of Calderón’s proposal. Of the specific proposals, reducing the size of Congress had the highest support, and reelection the lowest. (Universal 1/24)
|Former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda, who took the government to the Inter-American Human Rights Court over the issue of independent candidacies, called the political reform proposal “the most transcendental proposal since Salinas [called for] the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993.” “Without reforming the essential institutions of the old authoritarian priista regime, Mexico is paralyzed. The Mexican political system, ever since the PRI lost its majority the Chamber in 1997, hasn’t functioned. It doesn’t allow decisions to be taken, to innovate, nor confront the country’s challenges,” he wrote.
|Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez called the President’s reform proposal “the most profound initiative for institutional reconstruction in contemporary Mexico.” He said the ‘most delicate’ proposal was the one for a presidential runoff and its alignment with the congressional elections, which he predicted would lead toward a two-party system, with disastrous consequences for the representation of third parties and democratic stability.
|Andrés Manuel López Obrador dismissed the proposals as “pure deception” intended to divert attention from the economic crisis and to sustain the oppression of the people by the “mafia of power, politics and money.”