By Juan Montes / Wall Street Journal
Mexico’s Senate passed Wednesday an anticorruption bill requiring public servants to make their assets, tax returns and economic interests public, taking up a proposal signed by more than 600,000 citizens, while giving a new independent anticorruption body the power to protect information it considers may affect the private lives of public servants.
The bill is part of legislation for implementing constitutional changes made in April of last year to tackle corruption in government. The lower house is expected to vote on the legislation this week.
The bill was a compromise between President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government and the ruling party, which wanted to keep some information private for security reasons, and civil society organizations and some opposition lawmakers who favored full disclosure of assets.
Currently, public servants aren’t forced to make their statements public.
“This legislation is an improvement compared to what we had. It doesn’t include all that we demanded, but Mexico will have a stronger anticorruption legal framework and stronger and independent anticorruption authorities,” said Max Kaiser, an anticorruption expert at think tank IMCO, one of the leading nonprofits behind the citizens’ initiative.