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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo Democracy In Peril Would you trust the wolf with looking after Little Red Riding Hood?
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There are people in Mexico who are not happy with democracy of any kind. Given their recent proposals, those people have a name.

Over the past two weeks, this writer has mentioned the proposition of doing away with the relative-vote system known as “plurinominal” now underway; the “plurinominal,” which doesn’t exist in English, is a peculiarity of the Mexican system similar to that of nations like Germany in which parties get proportional representation in Congress according to the number of votes they got in the past election.

Under this “plurinominal” system the number of senators was increased from 64 to 128 and the number of deputies (congressmen) went up from 300 to 500. This was done to protect the so-called “minority parties” participation in democracy.

The proposition of going back to the old system of 64 senators and 300 deputies came from Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) president Enrique Ochoa Reza which means, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was approved by President Enrique Peña Nieto himself.

Now, this proposal came together with another one in which all funding to political parties is to be cancelled and parties are to be made to live off the fees of their following, their loyal vote.

The fact that Mexico has a state subsidized democracy is at the root of all this. Definitely without a subsidy it would collapse and unquestionably the President’s Institutional Revolutionary Party would be king on an automatic basis.

The scam — pardon me — scheme presented by PRI president Ochoa Reza includes two moves. The funds allotted for carrying out the democratic process would be placed in a trust fund called “Fuerza México” or Mexico Strength that would end up being managed by the nation’s private business sector in violation of an agreement to keep business donations out of politics.

But would you trust the wolf with looking after Little Red Riding Hood?

There is no question as to the fact that businessmen are profiteers — God bless them for it — but in this case the “Fuerza Mexico” kitty, which is of over 100 billion pesos and managed by the private sector, will definitely not be for democracy or to support political parties but would surely end up in the happy pockets of the administrators.

Right now in Congress, it is being discussed giving back part of the subsidies because of two reasons. First of all with the great subsidies political parties are seen by eyes of the population to have become parasites who don’t legislate in favor of the people. They legislate to help themselves with the big spoon, or so say the most recent polls.

In past articles I have pointed out that it is “unconstitutional.” And it is, as these were funds allotted for parties participating in electoral completion starting this past Sept. 10 until the electoral cycle concludes with the election of a new president on July 1, 2018.

Sure many may politicos have an ill feeling seeing the throngs of people — not as many as in 1985, when the government was bankrupt printing money like crazy and we enjoyed being millionaires with a nearly galloping inflation that climbed up to 159 percent by 1987 — but the federal government has funds to meet at least partially the disaster mangled areas which have already been properly detected and gauged by the federal government. Or at least that’s what President Peña Nieto is telling us.

But if political parties don’t get subsidies, where will their financing come from if they are not allowed to receive private funding? Just by measuring party by party and because minority parties banned private financing from the democratic process because they perceived corruption particularly with some parties, who in the worst of cases would get to be partners of drug traffickers who would launder their money through backing candidates. That, of course, is unacceptable to all but it is feasible under present circumstances.

Both houses of Congress will continue to discuss this issue along with the details of the 2018 federal budget and the issue will come to a solution no longer than Nov. 15, when the budget will have to be approved.

But again, the proposal made by PRI will only lead back to the one party dictatorship most Mexicans thought they had gotten rid of over the past 20 years and whose ghost is haunting the Mexican political system again.

There are no answers now, not just yet, but what’s hopeful is that political parties will use the funds they were allotted to compete in a democratic political contest that by itself promises to be tough on all more than 3,000 races for different positions at hand.

And, but of course, PRI would like to return to the good old days when they were the perfect “democratic” dictatorship.

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