The San Luis Potosí state Congress has become a circus of buffoons who trade insults, ignore their constituencies and get little work done, according to citizens’ groups.
Twenty-seven deputies representing nine different political parties make up the current legislature, sworn in almost two years ago.
“They have turned the Congress of the state of San Luis Potosí into a circus,” say leaders of the Citizens’ Anti-Corruption Front, a coalition of 20 organizations that was formed in June.
José González, the leader of Ciudadanos Observando (Citizens Watching), believes that a lack of transparency, excessive salaries and benefits, hiring practices, politicians not listening to their constituents, corruption and scandals are indicative of a broken system.
Indeed, scandals have become common during the life of the legislature.
In June, a video appeared providing evidence that four state deputies of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN), Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and Green Party (PVEM) had colluded in a conspiracy to extort municipal mayors. Three of the four were forced to resign.
The same month, PRI Deputy José Luis Romero Calzada held an impromptu cumbia dancing session on the floor of Congress and has also been accused of using a supposed work mission to Alaska as a junket, appearing shirtless on a cruise ship in photographs that circulated on social media.
He has also abused members of protest groups present in Congress.
Another social media-fueled scandal broke out when a video appeared showing the son of another PRI deputy lighting a cigarette with a 500-peso bill.
PRD Deputy Sergio Enrique Desfassiux has abused and insulted those he disagrees with, both inside and outside Congress, say critics. He called a group of taxi drivers who were protesting against him maricones (queers or fags), labelled a fellow deputy a cabrón (asshole), insulted a parking lot attendant and threatened municipal police officers.
“These types of characters who think that they are very funny and start dancing inside Congress and . . . [who] shout and insult have contributed to the discrediting of Congress,” said the president of the National Chamber of Commerce (Canaco), Alejandro Pérez Rodríguez.
“Unfortunately, around six or seven deputies who are up to dirty tricks are putting an end to the credibility and have led Congress to its worst period in the history of San Luis Potosí.”
The Ciudadanos Observando leader agrees.
“…this [Congress] already lost all its seriousness . . . they’ve turned it into a circus ring, I believe . . . [it’s] the worst legislature. When an important issue comes up ‘the buffoons’ take the stand to act the clown and they manage to distract public opinion from the central issue . . . .” José González said.
A study by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (Imco) found that the San Luis Potosi legislature is one of the most costly to run and least efficient in the country, based on the state’s population, number of deputies and resources allocated to it. Hundreds of proposals are stalled in the legislative process.
In addition, none of the 27 state deputies has ever achieved a pass mark in quarterly evaluations carried out by a citizens’ initiative called Congreso Calificado (Congress Graded). In its most recent evaluation, the highest grade achieved was 4.7 out of 10.
Source: El Universal (sp)