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English Editorial EL UNIVERSAL

An opportunity for politicians



24 March 2015

Out of the 66 representatives who make up the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City (ALDF), almost half will begin campaigning to seek a seat in San Lázaro or lead one of the city districts, without requesting leave from office.


Some will perform their legislative work apart from doing proselytism. Others, on the other hand, will snub the work for which they were elected in the first place, and will set their sight on the electoral process while they continue to receive their monthly salaries.


To remain in office while campaigning for another post of popular election is not punishable by law, and is a common practice in other countries. Yet it is time to take advantage of this juncture and have lawmakers act with congruence and transparency, clearly defining before the citizens at what times he or she serves as a representative and in what moment is a candidate in search of votes.


In the end, the resources used in both situations - as lawmaker and as candidate, come from the taxes paid by citizens.


Given the distrusts from the population towards parties and politicians, there is also a chance to submit their declaration of assets or even conflicts of interests. Accountability and good practices would certainly help to modify the popular perception towards politicians.


Some of them, not precisely assemblymen, took the first steps in that direction when the Electoral Institute of Mexico City launched a plan to implement control tests of confidence for candidates to local representation positions and district heads. The protocol seeks to determine if applicants have ties with organized crime.


Just a little more than 10% of the candidates from the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) have submitted voluntarily to these tests. But, what about the rest? (Currently the PRD has majority both, at the ALDF and the city districts).


The electoral law does not stipulate that the tests and their results are necessary for the eligibility of the candidates, but this sort of tests were required by political parties to the PGR, after the case of the so-called imperial couple of Iguala, where former mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife used power to establish links with organized crime, a situation that could have been avoided if the allegations against them had been addressed. Will the candidates for popular election positions in Mexico City respond to the call?


This is the opportunity to set a precedent. It is time to have the politicians clean their image and do things differently. Hopefully they will not let go this chance.


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