Mexico scored relatively highly in the 'open government' factor but lost points for corruption. Mexico scored relatively highly in the 'open government' factor but lost points for corruption.

Mexico sees slight drop on World Justice Project rule of law index

Mexico's worst score was in the 'absence of corruption' category

Mexico fell nine places on the latest edition of an index that measures the rule of law in more than 100 countries.

Mexico’s score on the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2021 declined 0.01 points and its ranking fell from 104th to 113th, mainly because it was competing against a larger group of countries. The index uses a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating the strongest adherence to the rule of law.

Using data derived from 138,000 household surveys and 4,200 legal practitioner and expert surveys, the WJP – an independent organization dedicated to the advance of the rule of law around the world – measured 139 countries and jurisdictions, an increase of 11 compared to 2020.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico ranked 27th out of 32 countries, ahead of only Honduras, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela.

The WJP considered eight factors made up of 44 sub-factors to determine each country’s Rule of Law Index score.

Mexico achieved its best score and ranking on the “open government” factor, which considered the sub-factors of publicized laws and government data; the right to information; civic participation; and complaint mechanisms. Mexico’s score on that factor was 0.6, and its ranking among the 139 countries was 43rd.

Maintaining the relatively high score could be challenging in the future as the federal government has indicated it intends to disband the national transparency watchdog, a plan slammed by some journalists.

Mexico performed worst on the “absence of corruption” factor, which considered corruption in the executive branch of government, the judiciary, the police and military as well as in the legislature. Mexico’s score was just 0.26, and it ranked 135th in the world and last in Latin America and the Caribbean.

President López Obrador claims to have made great progress in stamping out government corruption, yet Mexico’s score on the absence of corruption “in the executive” sub-factor – which essentially looks at how corrupt the president is – was 0.31.

Lawmakers are seen as even more corrupt: Mexico’s score on the absence of corruption “in the legislature” sub-factor was 0.1.

Mexico’s scores and global rankings on the other six factors were 0.53 and 130th on order and security, 0.49 and 91st on fundamental rights, 0.45 and 102nd on constraints on government powers, 0.44 and 105th on regulatory enforcement, 0.37 and 131st on civil justice and 0.29 and 129th on criminal justice.

rule of law index

Mexico’s order and security score was bolstered by the “absence of civil conflict” sub-factor, on which it scored a perfect 1. However, its scores for “absence of crime” and “absence of violent redress” — which measures whether people resort to intimidation or violence to resolve civil disputes among themselves and whether people are free from mob violence — were just 0.37 and 0.23, respectively.

Lynchings are relatively frequent in some parts of Mexico, especially in the states of Puebla and Oaxaca.

Mexico’s worst score among the seven “criminal justice” sub-factors – 0.19 – was on “effective investigations.” Impunity is rife in Mexico and a major reason for that is the lack of thorough criminal investigations.

At 0.43, Mexico’s overall rule of law score is 0.13 points below the global average of 0.56 and 0.09 below the regional average of 0.52.

Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Germany were, in that order, the best-assessed countries in terms of rule of law, while Venezuela, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Cameroon were the worst.

Mexico’s North American trade partners, the United States and Canada, ranked 27th and 12th, respectively.

According to the WJP, the Rule of Law Index is the world’s most comprehensive dataset of its kind and the only one to rely principally on primary data, including the perspectives and experiences of ordinary people.

Mexico News Daily 

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