Published On: Tue, Sep 5th, 2017

Mexico’s IMCO named finalist for 2017 Templeton Freedom Award

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Awarded since 2004, the Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. The award annually honors his legacy by identifying and recognizing the most exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise, and the public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment via free competition.

And according to atlasnetwork.org, for the first time in the history of modern Mexican democracy a credible, relevant, and effective anticorruption legal infrastructure exists. It holds Mexican politicians accountable and keeps them honest from the get-go, all thanks to Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (IMCO)’s revolutionary “3for3” campaign. As of July 18, 2017, it is required by law that every politician must publish his or her declarations of assets, taxes paid, and possible conflicts of interest. This comes as the result of an intensive two-year campaign launched and led by IMCO, in which they raised 634,143 signatures – five times the number required – to introduce the “3for3” (3de3) framework to the Mexican Congress for consideration of its passage into law. As a result of IMCO’s project, for the first time, corruption is categorized as a crime in Mexico. Mexico’s brand is intrinsically linked to corruption, but IMCO’s successful “3for3” campaign has given the people of Mexico hope that this might actually come to an end.

Rule of Law in Name Only

Mexico has a long and troubled history with its government following its own laws, especially concerning graft and bribery. Businesses pay anywhere between 25 and 67 percent in corruption-related costs while the average Mexican family loses roughly 14 percent of its monthly income to corruption and 30 percent of the income of families living on minimum wage is spent on bribes, illegal fees, and other such graft.

With such an unacceptable status quo, in 2015 IMCO launched a coalition between academia and civil society to develop and publicize a new General Law of Administrative Responsibilities, or “Ley 3de3” (3for3 Law), which establishes a legal obligation for all public servants to provide annual declarations of their assets, taxes paid, and possible conflicts of interest. The government allowed them to proceed with this proposal as a citizen initiative but required that IMCO amass 120,000 signed citizen petitions.

Members of the IMCO team at the first ceremony to deliver signatures in favor of the 3de3 initiative to the Mexican Senate on March 19, 2016.

The early initiative became a way for candidates for public office to showcase their accountability and transparency by volunteering to publish their 3for3 declarations, with a simple call-to-action of Mexican voters during election season on Twitter being: “If you want my vote I want your #3de3.” In the following two years nearly 3,000 candidates for public office and civil servants have registered their 3for3 declarations on www.3de3.mx, IMCO’s website for the project. On that platform Mexican citizens could view such declarations in addition to a list of those candidates who have not yet declared, complete with links to tweet at those candidates. It had become such an effective public accountability tool that the National Electoral Institute promoted the 3for3 initiative as a means to provide informed voting in 2015 in 2016. This massive success was achieved in large part due to IMCO’s savvy use of communications. The hashtag #3de3 made the 3for3 campaign a household name, and IMCO garnered more than 5,420 mentions in mainstream Mexican media outlets throughout the duration of the campaign.

IMCO initially raised only 2,000 signatures, so it pursued more partnerships – this time with David Noel Ramírez, then-head dean of Tecnológico de Monterrey, one of Mexico’s top universities.  In a YouTube plea, Ramírez asked his students and the broader community to sign the petition. His plea gained traction as various groups flocked to join the campaign, including the business association COPARMEX, state-level partners, and small citizen groups, who all began gathering petitions. In the end, the total amount of verified petitions was 634,143, far exceeding the number required for submission to the Mexican Senate and becoming the first-ever citizen initiative to make it through the Senate. Within six months, the Mexican Congress passed seven laws, drafted by IMCO, that created the National Anticorruption System.

IMCO was heavily involved in the law-making process despite numerous institutional roadblocks, with members of its team offering Congressional testimony regularly. Floor proceedings discussing the anticorruption initiative were also conducted under “Open Parliament” principles resulting from popular demand and allowed civil society representatives to defend the initiative whereas they would typically be prohibited from doing so under normal procedures. The momentum of the massively supported 3for3 campaign created an urgency that dominated the legislative agenda.

Ley 3de3

The 3for3 framework enacts a handful of obligations for all public servants regardless of station – they apply to staffers of municipalities, autonomous bodies, and even the highest officers of the land, including Mexico’s president. This legal requirement will provide Mexican citizens access to a basic level of governmental transparency concerning the economic interest and holdings of its public servants and categorizes corruption as a crime for the first time in the country’s history.

“The 3for3 Law aims to spark a two-fold change: improving the efficiency of the body of laws that fights corruption, and channeling citizens’ anger in a constructive way through the existing institutions,” said Juan Pardinas, director general of IMCO.

Now backed by the full force of the law, the 3for3 framework defines 10 separate acts of corruption and spells-out accompanying punishments for each. It also establishes a collaborative group of government agencies with full investigative power to fight current instances of corruption and to prevent further corruption. Moreover, it implements a set of checks and balances in the investigation and prosecution processes with an emphasis on recuperating the lost resources and holds the private sector just as accountable for its active role in corruption. Furthermore, it inaugurates a new culture of accountability, simplifies the method of filing complaints, protects whistleblowers, and institutes a legal obligation on public servants to report corruption, among more initiatives.

 

Click here for full article on Atlas Network

Source: https://www.atlasnetwork.org/

 

About the Templeton Freedom Award and the additional 2017 finalists:

Awarded since 2004, the Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. The award annually honors his legacy by identifying and recognizing the most exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise, and the public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment via free competition. The award is generously supported by Templeton Religion Trust and will be presented during Atlas Network’s Freedom Dinner on Nov. 8 in New York City at the historic Capitale. The winning organization will receive a $100,000 prize, and five additional finalists will receive $25,000 prizes.



 

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