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Latino Daily News

Sunday December 15, 2013

Mexican Senate OKs Anti-Corruption, Electoral-Reform Bills

Mexican Senate OKs Anti-Corruption, Electoral-Reform Bills

Photo: Mexican legislation

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Mexican senators approved separate bills that would create an anti-corruption watchdog and allow for the re-election of federal and state lawmakers and mayors.

With a vote of 111-2 with two abstentions, the senators on Friday passed in general and specific terms the anti-corruption bill, which amends nearly a dozen articles of Mexico’s charter. The measure now goes to the lower house.

The new anti-corruption authority will be responsible for preventing, investigating and handing down administrative sanctions for graft-related offenses.

Branches of the watchdog must be set up in all of Mexico’s states to guarantee an effective fight against corruption and ensure that public employees act with “principles of legality, honesty, loyalty, impartiality and efficiency.”

The administrative sanctions that could be handed down against corrupt officials include removal and disqualification from office and fines.

The authority also will work closely with prosecutors in the event of criminal offenses and could recommend precautionary measures such as pre-trial detention and the freezing of assets.

Also Friday, the Senate gave final approval for a bill that would allow for the re-election - beginning in 2018 - of federal and state lawmakers and mayors, who could remain in office for a maximum of 12 years.

Presidents and state governors, however, would still be limited to a single six-year term.

That bill, which was passed by a vote of 95-11 with two abstentions, also enables the president to form a coalition government with one or more parties.

The initiative also would make the federal Attorney General’s Office independent of the executive branch and establish a nine-year term in office for the attorney general, who would be approved by the Senate.

The electoral overhaul had already been approved by the lower house but still must be passed by a majority of state legislatures.

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