New political alternatives?

Independent candidates could be a real alternative to the political class in Mexico

Voting urn - Photo by Fernando Ramírez/EL UNIVERSAL
English 05/10/2017 09:00 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 09:00
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Until a few years ago, the only way Mexican citizens could run for public office was through a political party.

The battle to allow independent candidates in Mexico without them being affiliated to a political party took years and the very strict demands of international courts had to be met.

Independent candidates were tested for the first time in the half-year elections of 2015 and several candidates won without being sheltered by a political group during their electoral campaign. After this promising start, they were relevant in the 2016 and 2017 elections.

On the road towards the presidential elections of 2018 – the first of its kind where citizen candidates will be allowed to enter the campaign – nine people so far have registered their candidacy before the National Electoral Institute (INE). Their campaign will not be easy. Independent candidates are the first to register before the INE, and from that moment they begin a crusade to gather at least 866 thousand 593 signatures across 17 states of the country to ratify their candidacy.

Except for a few, most of the citizen candidates still bear the mark of a political party. Most of the candidates registered so far were, until a few months ago, members of a political party. Just because they have left their parties, does it mean they will be autocratically rid off of the practices of these groups? Just like that are they no longer members of the so-called “political class”? Next year we will surely see politicians in citizen's clothing.

Independent candidates must be a different option. The country needs a real alternative to the political class who has disillusioned so many regarding public office positions and has caused outrage at the lifestyle of the Mexican politicians.

Mexican people see politicians as a sector disconnected from their daily struggles, focused only in amassing fortunes and privileges. The people demand new ways to think of public administration and ways to perform it. The current electoral process offers an opportunity to become familiar with alternatives. Let us hope there are plenty.


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