it important to live in a democracy?
Currently, the Mexican population lives a representative democracy and is often perceived only as a way to gain power, according to a survey conducted by "Latinobarómetro" last year, 56% of Mexican citizens believed that democracy is adequate for elections but does not represent the ideas or ways of thinking of the people (The financial, 2017); In other words, there are people who prefer not to vote on Election Day because they do not agree with the ideas of the candidates for a government position. In Mexico, the type of democracy is representative, in this case the inhabitants choose their rulers through voting or suffrage (UNAM, 2018), however there is a knowledge of a corrupt system where elections are not won in a right way most of the time, Diego Valadés, a jurist and professor at the UNAM, said in a lecture given at that university. For this reason, in the last year a greater participation of citizens has been sought, through a direct democracy where they are empowered to have a greater participation in the decisions of the country, all this is done through popular consultations (UNAM, 2018), but the question remains the same; citizens actually have the power over decision-making or it's just a way to make them feel important even though decisions are already made?
The situation is problematic because the system of popular consultations in Mexico is used as a legitimization system for governmental plans or projects (González E., 2018). In addition, in accordance with the Federal Law of Popular Consultation issued on March 14, 2014, these surveys should be promoted by the highest electoral body of the country, the INE, so that they can be taken in account, however, many of the popular consultations that have been made have a different organization and are not endorsed by this institution, see as an example the most recent about the creation of the Mexico City airport. Another requirement is that it’ll be requested before the congress by the president of the Republic, who according to article 35 of the Mexican constitution, must receive at least 30% approval in the congress (Milenio, 2016). In this way the informative nature of the consultations is highlighted, contrary to the initial purpose of granting greater participation to citizens, this means that the democratic system in the country is still inefficient and unethical, hence the bad perception of the internal political system .
I am against the realization of popular consultations because they not only destabilize the exercise of democracy and give it a bad image, but they also make the people believe that they have a power that does not really exist. Another reason is that there are several restrictions for a popular consultation coming from citizenship, for example, in 2017 there was a popular request to withdraw the Partido Verde registration as a political party but this issue could not be submitted to consultation because they are an electoral issue, therefore it is prohibited by law; another obstacle that discourages citizen participation is the need for 2% of the nominal list to support the proposal (El Universal, 2017). This situation distorts the elements of direct democracy that try to prevail in the political culture of Mexico, take as an example the most recent popular consultation: it was only held in 538 municipalities, which according to the elected president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is where the concentrated 82% of the population, but according to the INEGI, out of the 502 most populated municipalities, 102 did not count with ballot boxes to vote, these represented about 20% of the Mexican population (INEGI, 2017), therefore , the popular consultation does not represent the opinion of the majority of citizens; coupled with the above, this consultation was not promoted by the INE, but was organized by the Arturo Rosenbleuth Foundation with funding from the Morena party (Revista Nexos, 2018), as previously mentioned, these elements make the consultation somewhat invalid and it will only be used as a supporting argument for the decisions to be taken by the new president of the country.
Everything seems to indicate that direct democracy is not the best form of citizen participation, on the other hand, in the United States there is a strong culture of participation in this type of popular consultations, where more than 70% of citizens participate in this type of consultations, (Forbes, 2018) this is due, among other things, to the fact that the promotion of the consultations is done with a trivial language so that the law in question or the subject can be understood by the majority of the population, besides it helps the type of vote in which a second round of voting may be held in case the result is tied or ambiguous. (The economist, 2015).
In accordance with the above, I reiterate my position against the popular consultations since they are the derivative of the problematic need to change course our political system and the obligatory participation of citizens, for example, in times of voting the number of voters rarely exceeds 60% of the nominal list (INE, 2017).
The popular consultations may seem like a way to exercise direct democracy, but in countries like ours, they tend to be informative and serve as support for the validation of proposals and projects, losing their true objective, citizen participation. It takes a new political system in Mexico and that this type of consultation are seen as something serious. In my case as a student, I observe the lack of information among my colleagues, that takes away their tools to be critical and demand truly important things to our rulers, many times we are informed of our rights but we do not know how we can exercise them adequately, therefore I suggest a new information system where we can consult this type of functions and how to carry them out, that is written in such a way that it can be understood by anyone within the country. I can conclude that, although we need many changes to achieve an equitable democracy, we have elements that can help us develop it, the mistake is to misrepresent them and misuse them. What does Mexico need to avoid economic instability?
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