Tag Archives: Transparency

OAS and INE of Mexico Signed Agreement on Procedures for Mission to June 7 Elections

By OAS, Press Release 04/27/15

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The Organization of American States (OAS) and the National Electoral Institute of Mexico today signed the agreement that regulates the procedures for the Mission that the hemispheric institution will send to the federal elections in the country on June 7.
In a ceremony held at INE headquarters in Mexico City, the former President of Costa Rica and Chief of the Foreign Visitors Mission, Laura Chinchilla, and the INE President, Lorenzo Córdova signed the document.

President Chinchilla, who was named Chief of Mission by the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, and who is currently on a preliminary visit in Mexico, said “the agreement on procedures signed today establishes the necessary conditions to witness in an independent and impartial manner the 2015 electoral process and the transparency of the Mexican electoral authorities.”

President Córdova, for his part, said he is convinced that “the professionalism of the electoral observation and its reports will be of great use in the consolidation and improvement of the national system of elections.”

The signing ceremony was attended by the Undersecretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico for Latin America, Vanessa Rubio; the Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora; and the Executive Secretary of the INE, Edmundo Jacobo.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Mexico’s Congress passes anti-corruption law

By Reuters  04/22/15

Mexico’s Congress has approved an anti-corruption law that could help relieve pressure on President Enrique Pena Nieto’s scandal-plagued government.

The law, passed late on Tuesday night, strengthens oversight of public officials and designates a special prosecutor to tackle corruption. It comes after several previous efforts to pass anti-graft measures failed.

The reform will give new powers to Mexico’s existing Federal Audit Office and the Public Administration Ministry (SFP), as well as creating a special court to oversee all corruption-related issues.

Details of the changes will be hashed out in secondary laws that must be passed in the next year.

Opposition parties joined with Pena Nieto’s party to approve the law, but some anti-corruption organizations have expressed concern that the project will just give a face lift to existing institutions and will not address the low rate of prosecutions for corruption in Mexico.

Pena Nieto’s focus on reforming Mexico’s struggling economy has been overshadowed by scandals underscoring rampant impunity and passage of the law could ease pressure on his party ahead of mid-term elections in June.

Earlier this month, the head of Mexico’s federal water authority resigned after he and his family used one of the agency’s helicopters for personal travel.

Last year, it was revealed that Pena Nieto, his wife and his finance minister had all bought or were using houses belonging to a government contractor involved in a consortium that won a high-speed train contract.

Fernando Belaunzaran, a congressman with the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), said the new law would put pressure on state governors to ensure spending is honest.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay Editing by W Simon)

Mexican Congress expands reach of freedom-of-information law

By Associated Press via The Washington Post, 04/17/15

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress has approved freedom of information legislation that will allow public access to data from almost any entity that receives government funding.

The measure was passed Thursday in the lower house on a 264-68 vote and now goes to the president for his signature.

President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote in his Twitter account that the law “will strengthen the accountability of the Mexican government and combat corruption.”

Mexicans can currently use freedom-of-information requests to get data from government agencies. But the new law now also covers requests to unions, political parties and government-supported councils and commissions.

The law also sets down rules for the classifying of information as confidential or a state secret, designations that have allowed some agencies to skirt information access rules.

Here are 5 important changes in the new freedom-of-information law:

  1. Increase transparency obligations to all organizations that receive public funds, including political parties, unions, and independent agencies, among others.
  2. Federal deputies and Senators now have to make public their salaries, bonuses, benefits, and other expenses.
  3. Information regarding human rights violations cannot be restricted from the public.
  4. Creation of a National Transparency System, a digital platform to gather and track all the access-to-information requests.
  5. Increase penalties for public servants when they declare absence of information without proof.

Click here and here for more information (in Spanish).

Click here to see a larger version of the infographic “The Mexican State and Anti-Corruption Efforts.”

Also, click here to check the components of the WJP Open Government Index 2015 in which Mexico is ranked 42 out of 102 countries.

This year, the Mexico Institute is working on proposals and analyses regarding transparency and rule of law. You can visit our info-graphics, events, and publications on the topic here. Below you can find the webcast of Luis Rubio’s Book: A Mexican Utopia.