How can we trust parties?

OPINION: If parties and legislators really want to recover some of the confidence their representatives have lost in them, they should start by making the use of money transparent

English 01/06/2017 09:24 Mexico City Newspaper leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 15:48

In spite of the discredit that follows it, the political class gives few signs of modifying practices and of opening itself up to scrutiny. On Wednesday, Veracruz deputy, Eva Cadena, said - without showing any proof - that far-left National Regeneration Party (MORENA) uses resources from the local Congress to finance activities of the party leader and candidates for councilors.

The answer of the accused was that it is a gross accusation, without sustenance. Cadena - who was shown in different videos receiving money - said she would file a complaint; It is precisely the authority who must be given greater details of the facts.

The history of Cadena herself - who has gone through the ranks of at least three different parties - is a common practice in a good part of Mexican politicians: they go from one group to another seeking accommodation when in the party in turn they no longer find the way to reach some position of popular election. Ideological conviction is what matters least.

The accusation of Cadena, although it turns out not to be true, is replicated in one form or another in state and even federal congresses. In addition to their monthly income, the payment of bonuses to legislators occurs frequently without the precise information of the amount they receive and whether it goes directly into their pocket or is invested in their district.

At the end of 2016, the public heard for the first time, through EL UNIVERSAL pages, about the existence of a year-end bonus for federal deputies. It was not a new income, on the contrary, it had been paid for years, and added to the extraordinary perceptions that they already received for the Christmas period. The justification of this bonus was confusing and so was the amount. Knowing the existence of this secret bonus caused the amount for each legislator to decrease from about 350 thousand pesos to "only 150 thousand pesos".

The country still has much to accomplish in regards of the purification of the political task. From requiring legislators to make all the resources transparent, to laws that sanction the opacity in which they incur, as well as an effective sanctioning authority.

This newspaper has documented that legislators in the Federal Congress have covered almost everything, from their health to chewing gums, with money from the public treasury. If parties and legislators really want to recover some of the confidence their representatives have lost in them, they should start by making transparent the use of that money, which goes directly from the population's pocket to the legislative coffers. Citizenship is still waiting.


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