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Accountability and political parties

In Mexico, political parties not only seize control of public funds, they also refuse to make public how they allocate those resources
Illustration - File image/EL UNIVERSAL
29/08/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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In a mature democracy, political parties are accountable to society for the resources spent and the activities undertaken. Within this context, accountability is duly exercised through the organizations that allow people to hold power in the government. In Mexico, however, political parties not only seize control of public funds every year, they also refuse to make public how they allocate those resources.

Thus, the initiatives that have been developed so far to restrict the access political parties can have to the national treasury haven't been fruitful. The proposal of local deputy, Pedro Kumamoto, known as #NoMoneyWithoutVotes, has already been approved by the Congress in the state of Jalisco. The new law states that political parties will receive resources depending on the effective number of votes obtained during the previous election, and not on the number of people enrolled in the electoral roll.

This implies that political parties in that state will receive less public resources. Hence, the initiative was appealed before the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico by different political parties, and criticized by key political figures. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court asserted the constitutionality of the law – which is expected to enter into full force and effect next 2019.

In Mexico, political parties have historically refused to be transparent about the expenditure of public funds. Similarly, the Federal Congress – whose members are both, legislators and members of said political parties – approve year after year exorbitant budgets for political party activities that are never in the interest of the citizens.

Just in 2018 alone, more than 6 billion Mexican pesos will be spent by all the political parties in campaign processes – an amount never seen before in the last two decades and never in the electoral season. Mexican society should, on the one hand, promote initiatives that restrict the amount of public funds spent by political parties, and on the other, demand that institutions dependent on the funds of our nation fulfill their obligation to disclose their expenditures, according to the General Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information.

It's not the same to live from politics than to live for politics. Public service should be rendered out of a deep vocation to serve the people, yet instead, there are some who have preferred to serve their own interests. Political parties need a profound commitment to transparency and accountability because only then will we, as a society, be able to know if they are using public resources in favor of the citizens. Initiatives like #NoMoneyWithoutVotes deserve to be replicated in all the other states of the country and at the Federal Congress.

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