Reelection in Mexico

Katie Putnam, Mexico Institute, 3/15/10

On March 5th, Alejandro Encinas, the coordinator of the PRD party in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center that a law allowing reelection for legislators would likely pass in the next two months. Experts have long critiqued Mexico’s ban on congressional reelection; among other problems, legislators are not accountable to their constituents (with reelection, constituents determine whether the legislator will need to look for a new job after the next election), nor do they or their staff have time to develop expertise in a particular issue area (think Senator Ted Kennedy on health care or Senator Joe Biden on foreign policy).

Encinas praised the theoretical benefits of allowing reelection in Congress. The bill, part of a larger set of government proposals being considered in Congress, would allow members of the lower house of Congress to seek up to four consecutive, three-year terms in office. The other two major parties, the PRI and the PAN, with some divisions, have said they will support it. What’s the problem?

Encinas will not vote for it. Nor will most of his party.

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