Will Mexico’s New Anti-Corruption Law Lead to Actual Reform?
12 June 2015
Mexico signed into law a new anti-corruption law that offers some hope that the country will progress beyond its ineffective system of ad-hoc appointments of czars and agencies to address corruption. The law creates the National Anti-Corruption System to investigate and punish corrupt officials, and seeks to strengthen the auditing of public finances. It also forces public officials to release information on the use of public resources. The law is the product of two and a half years of legislative negotiations. The law’s practical details, however, will need to be refined in secondary laws that must be passed within the next year.
Skeptics question, however, whether the law will result in real change for a country plagued by corruption and political corruption-related scandals. Existing anti-corruption laws are rarely enforced. Furthermore, the law doesn’t remove prosecutorial immunity for elected officials and violations of the law will only incur fines of up to roughly $6,600.
The passage of the law comes at a time when President Enrique Nieto’s administration is the subject of many corruption-related scandals. A recent local daily newspaper poll found that 60 percent of Mexicans believed that corruption has increased since Peña Nieto was elected in 2012.