Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Businesses issue warning over implications of public consultations

The Mexican Employers Federation (Coparmex) has sounded an alarm over constitutional amendments that it believes could have grave financial consequences.

The initiative, already approved by the lower house of Congress, is one that also lays the groundwork for a vote on the president’s performance, an issue that has been controversial on its own.

But Coparmex warned that there are broad implications in other parts of the initiative that allow for public consultation on a wide range of key economic issues, including who will pay taxes and how much.

Coparmex president Gustavo de Hoyos Walther cautioned that it would also make it possible for the president to pass new taxes in 2022.

“The public referendum initiative in its current form plants the ‘fourth year trap’ of this administration; it opens the door for technical decisions of great strategic responsibility for the country, like who pays taxes, to be decided by a manipulated public.”

He observed that under the proposed amendments a vote by 25% of the eligible population, or 21.7 million Mexicans, would be sufficient to pass binding legislation.

“That would mean that the results of a public consultation could be binding with the votes of only three states, like Mexico City, México state and Veracruz, or with the vote of people aged 20-29. With this small percentage, public referendums could put issues important for the nation’s stability at risk.”

Those decisions could end up being made on the basis of the government’s popularity rather than any technical analysis, de Hoyos said, and new taxes could be imposed despite the government’s promise there would be none during the first three years of the president’s term.

“The public consultation reform approved by the Chamber of Deputies could end up creating forms of [political] participation especially convenient for those currently in power, particularly when it comes time to decide important issues for our nation’s future.”

Source: Milenio (sp), Sin Embargo (sp)

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