Citizen disenchanment, Mexico's lack of participation

Por Cynthia Castañeda


Mexico’s participatory democracy is unfortunately not as strong as others. Stats  indicate that the participation and interest of citizens in political issues is not even elementary. The most recent study made by the Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion in the House of Representatives reveals that only 7 percent of the mexican population says they are "a lot" interested by politics, while another 19% says they are interested "some”. Evidence of this is that 97.5% of people do not know that the mexican House of Representatives is composed by 500 legislators.

Moreover, currently 32 percent of Mexico's population is made up of young people aged 12 to 29 years, however, participation is very low, particularly the one related to public affairs. According to the National Youth Survey, in 2010 only 11 percent of respondents participated in any organization or association.

Young people have gradually begun to engage in public affairs more actively. However, it is necessary to encourage participation and overturn the idea that voting is the only way you can decide. Empowering them is one way to truly become change agents in Mexico’s development.

The Mexican democracy is young and needs more mechanisms to promote government’s accountability, openness and transparency. Important efforts have been carried out and continue to do so in our country to make government actions accountable. These efforts have focused mainly on the following up of the Legislative Power’s activities. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the Federal Public Administration, particularly the President and Ministries’ actions. The information, promises, commitments (some even signed before a Public Notary) come about during electoral campaigns; however, little follow-up is done on subsequent government actions.

One of the many ways to contribute to Mexico’s democratic strengthening is trough the development of informed and engaged citizens; the promotion of Civil Society Organizations’ (CSOs) agenda; and the delivery of reliable information. It is of vital importance to erradicate the idea that public affairs are disregarded by the public and only in the interest of politicians.

@cynthiacs es periodista y Coordinadora Editorial de @ArenaElecotoral.

Cualquier opinión expresada en esta sección es exclusiva de su autor y/o la organización que representa, por ningún motivo debe considerarse como la postura de Fundación Ethos o el proyecto de Arena Electoral.