Mexico: Group Looks for Independent Citizens to Run for Congress

Currently, in Mexico you need to belong to a political party to be eligible for a seat in Congress. It is often argued that this system only fosters a power monopoly of the political class who looks after its party interests. Months ago, a group of citizens had pushed for substantial reforms to Mexican democracy, one of those was a political reform that included, among other things, the possibility of recall elections.

But since it became impossible for these reforms to get approved, and taking into account that it is a presidential election year, the same group that promoted #ReformaPolíticaYA (“Political Reform NOW”) is now driving a series of changes to the Federal Code of Institutions and Electoral Procedures (Cofipe) that would allow independent citizens to run for an elected office.

The system works as follows: citizens register on the site [es] and the group analyzes his/her profile to see if the person fulfills the requirements, that according to what Juan Pablo EMT (@JuanPabloEMT) [es] said on Twitcam, are:

No tengan intereses partidistas, ser ciudadano independiente y tener ideas frescas

Do not have any party interests, be an independent citizen and have fresh ideas

The group of young people behind this initiative intends to offer legal support to the citizens that get elected for a popular election office and hand them a kit to explain their next steps.

Citizens presenting proposals to the Mexican Senate. Photo by yfrog user @YONOFUI

Citizens presenting proposals to the Mexican Senate. Photo by yfrog user @YONOFUI

Selected independent candidates will go to register at their local Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) [es], IFE will reject their registration and then the group will go to a judge to contest the decision. The youth hope the judge will allow the name of the independent citizens to appear in the ballots on July.

This idea thoroughly reflects the constant search for ideas of a young generation that doesn't feel represented.

José Manuel Azpiroz (@jmazpiroz) [es], Director of the area of Leadership Training of Ethos Foundation, mentioned one of the main points of this idea:

¿Qué tal recuperar el Congreso Mexicano? Si, ese que lleva décadas secuestrado por los partidos políticos. #300vacantes #occupySanLázaro

How about we recover the Mexican Congress? Yes, the one that's been kidnapped by the political parties. #300vacantes (#300 vacancies) #occupySanLazaro

Paul Moch (@p_moch) [es], who is a member of the group, said:

No están hartos de los abusos de quienes se ostentan cómo nuestros representantes en el Congreso? Si tu respuesta es sí… Hay #300Vacantes!

Aren't you fed up of the abuses of those who call themselves our representatives at Congress? If your answer is yes… There are #300Vacantes!

YONOFUI (@YONOFUI) [es], who is one of the most active members of the movement, believes something is changing in the way many think:

Me encanta como cada vez más Mexicanos están decidiendo tomar la iniciativa y no esperando que el gobierno resuelva.

I love to see more and more Mexicans deciding to take the lead and not waiting for the government to solve things.

The process is uncertain and there is no guarantee that the citizens that the group presents will appear on the ballots. However, it is a last resource (after trying to have the Congress sponsor the necessary changes written in the political reform), full of wit, to try to transform a paradigm that up until now seemed foundational: only those who belong to a political party can be elected to hold public office.


  • […] Mexico: Group Looks for Independent Citizens to Run for Congress, Miguel Angel Guevara, English translation by  Elizabeth Rivera. (Español aquí): Amidst a presidential election year, a group of young people is driving a series of changes that would allow independent citizens to run for Congress. Currently, in Mexico you need to belong to a political party to be elected for a position in Congress. – En medio de un año de elecciones presidenciales, un grupo de jóvenes está impulsando una serie de modificaciones para permitir que ciudadanos independientes puedan postularse a un cargo de elección popular, dado que actualmente en México, para poder ser elegido a un cargo en el Congreso se debe pertenecer a un partido político. […]

  • Cory Stonelake

    As a person living in the United States, I think Miguel brings up a great idea here. I personally think that many people have ideas to offer that those in politics do not often look at. People in the public really understand what is truly going on and what needs to be fixed. I think that people in politics may get caught up in trying to please one another, rather than trying to make changes that need to be made. In the United States it really seems like those people that are in Congress come from a group of an older age. It really seems tough for younger people to gain this type of position. In my opinion, if we had some younger people that could help spark a change, then we would really get into the issues that need to be resolved. I think that people in Congress from later generations have a tough time looking at issues that we are facing today. Younger candidates would be able to bring fresh ideas in that they know need to be looked at. This is a great idea, but I think it will be very hard to get approved, only because of the way things are “supposed” to happen in politics.

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