World Bulletin/News Desk
The Mexican Lower House of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, late Thursday night approved political reform laws that will change the legal and institutional framework for the next federal elections in 2015.
After eight hours of debate in a special session, the house endorsed political reform with 381 votes in favor, 62 against and 11 abstentions. Some 454 votes of 500 deputies were cast. The special session was necessary as ordinary sessions ended April 30.
The Senate had already committed to adopting the proposed reforms a day earlier, also in special session.
Independent candidates will now be allowed to participate in federal elections for president of the republic, deputies and senators for the first time. Those seeking to run for president of Mexico must have signatures of one percent of the voter list to run for office. A bid for any other elected position would require two percent of the voters list as support.
“This allows citizens the access to elected office and makes us a more participatory democracy,” said Juan Pablo Adame, a deputy of the National Action Party.
Among the main reforms are changes to laws governing the re-election of deputies and senators. Deputies can now be re-elected for up to four three-year terms and senators up to two six-year terms. Previously re-election for consecutive terms was prohibited for members of both houses.
Deputies, or members of the lower house, who are currently in office cannot be re-elected, but those elected from 2015 are eligible to stand again under the new laws. Similarly elected senators in 2018 may consider re-election, but not those currently in office.
The 2015 elections are described as mid-term or intermediate as they come between the last presidential election in 2012 and the next in 2018.
State deputies and municipal presidents will now also be allowed to stand for re-election under the reforms. The president of the republic and state governors are still limited to single terms.
The National Electoral Institute will replace the Federal Electoral Institute. The National Electoral Institute will oversee all federal elections and control the financial resources for political campaigns.
Each local electoral body will now report to the National electoral institute, breaking the control previously held by state governors and legislative bodies over the voting process.
Deputy Fernando Belaunzaran, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, said the establishment of the National Electoral Institute was perhaps the greatest achievement of the reforms.
"The National Electoral Institute may eliminate arbitrariness and the control the governors of the states have on local institutes,” said Belaunzaran. “The new model seeks to remedy the excesses that many governors committed.”
The time between the presidential election and the inauguration will also be reduced to three months from the current five months. The president elected in 2018 will be decided in a poll in early July and sworn in by October 1.
Another key reform will be allowing the president to establish coalition governments with political forces outside the ruling political party.
The coalition government would have to be approved by the entire congress but only the senate will have to approve government programs.
From 2018, the Senate has to ratify the president’s national security strategy and the president will have to submit an annual report on the effectiveness of his program.
Most of the new electoral laws will come into effect for 2015, during the net intermediate federal elections, while others dealing with the presidency of the republic and senate will only take effect in 2018.
Last Mod: 17 Mayıs 2014, 11:28