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On Monday 16th April, Canning House was delighted to welcome a distinguished panel to speak on the upcoming general elections that will be taking place in Mexico on 1st July. José Luis Vargas, a judge at Mexico's Federal Electoral Tribunal, and Andrés Mejía Acosta, from King's College London's International Development Institute, gave presentations focusing on a number of issues, including the question of electoral transparency. This was followed by a Q&A. Giles Paxman, Canning House Trustee and former UK Ambassador to Mexico, chaired the event.
Speaker presentations highlighted the importance and complexity of this year's elections in Mexcio; with nearly 3,500 people to be elected to office, this is the largest election in Mexico's history. This is also the first year that the ban on re-election has been lifted, and that independent candidates have been allowed to run for president. It was noted that Mexico has come a long way in improving electoral transparency, and that the role of the Federal Electoral Tribunal will be key in ensuring a just and transparent outcome this July. Across Latin America more generally, the challenge in this year of many presidential elections is to move from fairness to effective transparency, with questions of campaign funding, use of advertising airtime and social media becoming as important as free and fair voting.Questions from the audience touched upon a variety of issues, including the likely impact of organised crime and violence on the electoral process in Mexico, and the Federal Electoral Tribunal's controversial decision to validate the candidacy of independent candidate Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, known as 'El Bronco', last week.
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