Civic Law Initiative Propels Fight Against Political Corruption in Mexico


3of3 Civic Law Initiative's Facebook banner.

A diverse group of citizens, in collaboration with civic organizations and academic institutions, are looking to address the serious problem of corruption and impunity in Mexico through the 3of3 Civic Law Initiative. The project aims to create legislation drafted directly by civil society that would provide tools to inhibit and punish corrupt practices committed by public servants.

According to the information presented in the group's video:

Los mexicanos estamos hartos de la corrupción. Pero pedirle a los políticos que resuelvan el problema, es como pedirle a un futbolista que sea el árbitro de su propio partido. La solución tiene que venir de los ciudadanos.

Mexicans are tired of corruption. But asking politicians to solve the problem is like asking a footballer to be the referee for his own match. The solution has to come from the citizens.

Therefore, those who joined and began promoting the project took upon themselves the task of drafting a General Law on Administrative Responsibilities initiative, which extends the current law's range of action that calls on public officials to submit statements of financial circumstance, among other obligations. The 3of3 Civic Law Initiative, which activists hope will be discussed and approved by the Congress, establishes the following:

[…] la obligación de todos los funcionarios públicos de hacer públicas tres declaraciones: declaración patrimonial, de intereses, y fiscal. Además, define reglas claras de conducta para los servidores públicos y actores privados, así como sanciones para los corruptos.

[…] The obligation of all public officials to publish three declarations: a declaration of assets, interest, and taxes paid. Additionally, it defines clear rules of conduct for public servants and private actors, as well as penalties for corruption.

Article 71 of the Mexican Constitution offers citizens the ability to propose laws directly to Congress, provided that the initiatives have the support of at least 0.13 percent of the voters list. In other words, civic initiatives must be supported by at least 120,000 people to be admitted for discussion in the Congress.

As such, the 3of3 Civic Law Initiative has dedicated itself to promoting civic activism and participation, using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to spread awareness about the initiative, and also inviting people to join in and share information about where they're working to collect signatures.

33,000 tweets, 16,000 likes on Facebook, 160,000 views of the #Ley3de3 [3of3 Law] video! We need signatures. No to the #SpectatorEffect. #IAlreadySigned

Similarly, a network of organizations called Civic Action Against Poverty announced that it will observe a National Day Against Corruption on March 13, during which tables will be placed in public spaces to gather signatures for the initiative.

Los organizadores informaron que hasta ahora el formato para reunir firmas a favor de la iniciativa, ya se ha descargado más de 40 mil veces del sitio web de la Ley, y señalaron que en la jornada del día 13 de Marzo esperan que se puedan repartir hasta 10 mil formatos más, en alrededor de 200 mesas, que se instalarán en las principales ciudades del país.

The organizers reported that, so far, the form for collecting signatures for the initiative has already been downloaded over 40,000 times from the legislation's website. They also noted that they expect to distribute 10,000 more forms on March 13 from about 200 tables placed in major cities throughout the country.

Mexico struggles with an extremely high level of corruption. According to the latest research by Transparency International, in collaboration with Transparency Mexico, Mexico ranks 95 out of 168 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index and holds last place among the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The news agency El País summarized the situation as follows:

El análisis elaborado por Transparencia Mexicana resalta que a pesar de que en 2014 y en 2015 el Congreso de la Unión aprobó las reformas constitucionales que crearon los Sistemas Nacionales de Transparencia y Anticorrupción, ha sido imposible que dichos cambios tengan un efecto positivo en el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción. Esto debido a los escándalos en los que se ha visto envuelto el gobierno federal y los mandatarios de los Estados. […]

La organización dedicada al combate de la corrupción apunta que para reducir los niveles de impunidad y corrupción, México debe avanzar en una agenda legislativa que vaya más allá de la ley del Sistema Nacional Anticorrupción.

The analysis prepared by Transparency Mexico notes that—although in 2014 and 2015 the Congress approved constitutional reforms that created the National System of Transparency and Anti-Corruption—it has been impossible for these changes to have a positive effect on the Corruption Perceptions Index. This comes as a result of the scandals that the federal government and leaders of the states have been involved in. […]

The organization dedicated to the fight against corruption notes that in order to reduce levels of impunity and corruption, Mexico must advance a legislative agenda that goes beyond the the law of the National System of Anti-Corruption.

With the battle against corruption far from over, Mexico today faces scandals of embezzlement and diverted resources, as well as countless other practices of political corruption. Meanwhile, constitutional reforms designed to combat corruption require secondary legislation to be implemented effectively.

The 3of3 civic initiative therefore is intended to complement and strengthen the National System of Anti-Corruption. On this score, political and academic columnist María Amparo Casar highlights the following:

La iniciativa ciudadana [Ley 3de3] tiene dos vías para prosperar: que algún partido o partidos la hagan suya o que sea dictaminada como tal. Lo que es claro es que las organizaciones y ciudadanos que la apoyamos hemos dado, en los hechos, un paso más en el compromiso no sólo de denunciar y quejarnos de los altos niveles de corrupción e impunidad que prevalecen en el país, sino de ponernos manos a la obra a través de propuestas concretas.

The [3of3] civic initiative has two ways of thriving: a party or parties make it their own or it is ruled as such. What is clear is that organizations and citizens that support it have in fact taken a step towards the commitment to not only report and complain about the high levels of corruption and impunity prevailing in this country, but to get to work through concrete proposals.

Herein lies the importance of supporting projects that seek to channel social discontent and go #FromComplainingtoActing (#DeLaQuejaALaAcción).

#Ley3de3 [3of3 Law] is the voice of many Mexicans asking for a change in favor of Mexico and against corruption.

Experts that participated in the development of 3of3 Law: Enrique Cárdenas, María Amparo Casar, José Roldán Xopa, Juan Pardinas collecting supporting signatures in Parque México.

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