17 | NOV | 2019
Mexico City: Power to the people
Citizen participation will be promoted in the city - Photo: Daniel Becerril/Reuters

Mexico City: Power to the people

Mexico City
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Since the 90s, Mexico City started implementing progressive laws

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Getting citizens involved in activities that will transform their surroundings and into government issues is a pending task in democratic societies. In most cases, apathy dominates the government and society.

In Mexico City, since 1995, the local administrations have pushed for the community to participate in matters that directly affect them. It's been almost 25 years since the creation of Citizen Councils was proposed, in order to promote neighbor inclusion in local programs through supervision and evaluations.

Throughout the years, the possibility of citizens being able to propose specific actions has been modified into a law that allows inhabitants to propose and vote projects to improve their communities and receive a budget to implement the programs.

Yesterday, this bill was modified but the changes were rejected by the opposition because, among other factors, it proposed that the members of the Community Participation Commissions were appointed through a draw or sortition; in the end, the citizens' right to vote and be voted to represent their communities was ratified.

Local lawmakers also approved an increase in budgets allocated to projects to improve neighborhoods, the so-called participative budget, which increased from 3% to 4%.

Every time a group of neighbors proposes projects to improve the streets and neighborhoods and the authorities provide support to make this a reality, the city has more and more committed citizens, who are compromised with the improvement of the quality of life in Mexico City. Therefore, the government shouldn't place obstacles, on the contrary, it should promote participation.

At the end of the day, the bill that was passed in Mexico City's Congress was approved by every local congress member; nevertheless, it would be useful to evaluate the new neighbor participation system in order to define if the possibility to participate will be limited or of it will expand. Every change should be implemented to improve the current situation in the city.

Although it seems like people are disenchanted with democracy, especially with political parties, authorities shouldn't fear citizen power. On the contrary, it is a breath of fresh air for government actions.


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