Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Reform without reform

Can you explain why this situation would not arise in China? Which other country you're studying is this situation most likely to occur and why?

Mexico’s Government Is Blocking Its Own Anti-Corruption Drive, Commissioners Say
Mexico’s landmark anti-corruption drive, inaugurated by President Enrique Peña Nieto under intense pressure to answer the scandals jolting his administration, is being blocked by the government’s refusal to cooperate on some of the biggest cases facing the nation, according to members of the commission coordinating the effort…

Marred by scandals that have embroiled his administration, his allies and even his own family, Mr. Peña Nieto agreed to the creation of a broad anti-corruption system last year that was enshrined in the Constitution, a watershed moment in Mexico.

But after nine months of pushing to examine the kind of corruption that ignited public outrage and brought the new watchdog into existence, some of its most prominent members say they have been stymied every step of the way, unable to make the most basic headway.

After announcing the new system with great fanfare, they say, the government is now refusing to allow any serious investigations into its actions…

In principle, regular citizens are at the helm of the new system, giving them the power to ensure that it works in the interest of the Mexican people, not the government.

But in interviews, all five members of the special citizen commission recited a long inventory of obstacles placed before them by the government.

None of the 18 judges who are supposed to oversee anti-corruption cases have been appointed by lawmakers. The prosecutor empowered under the new system to pursue investigations independently has not been named…

A big part of the problem, the commission members contend, is that their power is rooted in title only. All significant decisions have to be made by a collection of seven agencies. But six of them come from different branches of government, leaving the citizen’s commission, which technically oversees the entire process, heavily outvoted…

For many Mexicans, the new anti-corruption system — and particularly the power of citizens to coordinate it — showed that the government, when pushed hard enough, might finally combat the impunity that defines much of life in Mexico.

But many civil society leaders, including some who helped engineer the creation of the anti-corruption system, say they have fallen prey to a familiar trick: The government creates a panel to address a major issue, only to starve it of resources, inhibit its progress or ignore it…

The anti-corruption drive is still missing its independent prosecutor, arguably the most important person in the entire operation. The selection has been frozen in the legislature…

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