The Office against Electoral Crimes we need

The legitimacy of the 2018 General Election will depend on several key players; the FEPADE is only asked to investigate actions compromising the free vote of Mexican citizens
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
18/12/2017
08:36
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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From all the pieces part of the electoral system, the Specialized Attorney's Office against Electoral Crimes (FEPADE) should be the one best known to all citizens. This is the agency in charge of hearing complaints regarding alleged crimes committed during per-campaigns and campaign periods, and the one who should provide a quick and reliable answer.

Right in the middle of this electoral process, this Office spent almost three months without an appointed director despite the current situation requiring solid institutions operating at full capacity. An agreement reached in the last hours of the ordinary meeting term of the Congress managed to resolve this pending issue. Not having done so would've meant the entire electoral campaign would've been spent without someone in charge of the organization, given the expected radicalization of postures within the Legislative Branch as the voting day draws near.

The new head of this Office is aware of the challenge the upcoming general election will be, as they are the largest elections in Mexican history. During an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Héctor Marcos Díaz-Santana stated he expects to be under pressure given the nature of the task but claims these will wane once an adequate job is performed.

The Electoral Prosecutor, indeed, isn't being asked much. Just to do his job in strict compliance with the Law should be enough to consider his job an adequate one.

In his desk, you can find the file on the controversial Odebrecht case, whose former officials – arrested in Brazil – claimed they bribed officials of Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX and that a portion of these resources could have been used to finance campaigns during the 2012 presidential elections. The conclusion of this document has turned into an urgent matter of credibility, considering the current electoral process we're going through.

Handing out debit cards to voters with the promise that resources will be deposited at that time or after the election period – a practice that has previously been denounced and punished – is another of the issues requiring immediate attention as it represents an attack against the right to vote freely, without conditions or duress.

This next July 1, 2018, Mexico will live one of the most complicated presidential successions given the current political polarization, and there is a high probability of seeing a decisive vote during the final recount.

The legitimacy of the process will depend on several key players, yet the FEPADE is only asked to investigate actions compromising the free vote of Mexican citizens. A very important responsibility.

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