Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An important point that begs repeating: Excessive transitions between state governments

The critique is not new, but El Universal deserves credit for bringing it up at a particularly important juncture in time, namely following the first transitions in 80 years to an opposition party in Oaxaca, Puebla and Sinaloa: The excessive transition period between governments. 

While most other countries allow for a mere few weeks between the election of a new governor and his or her assumption of power, Mexico is an extreme outlier. Some examples :

* Sinaloa: The new governor will have to wait six months to take power

* Puebla: The new governor will have to wait eight months to take power

* Hidalgo:  While the ruling party won (though its victory remain disputed), the new PRI governor will not take office until April 2011 - ten months after the election.

To those who have followed in particular the highly authoritarian and corrupt PRI states that finally switched parties, one does not need much imagination to envision the outgoing party, still in shock from its loss, desperately trying to cover its tracks and/or trying to sabotage the incoming administration. 

In sum: As far as I can see, there are no valid practical arguments for maintaining these excessive transition times, yet plenty of anecdotal evidence that keeping them is a really bad idea. In the paradigmatic case of Oaxaca, for instance, the lame-duck PRI-controlled congress' recent vote to absolve outgoing governor Ulises Ruis for any responsibility for the killings in 2006, as well as attempts to preempt future revisions of the state expenses during Ruis' reign, are very likely only the tip of the iceberg. 

And yet Oaxaca still has months to go. 

No comments:

Post a Comment