11/12/20 (written by vrice)—At the end of October, the National Electoral Institute (Instituto Nacional Electoral, INE) unanimously endorsed guidelines for political parties to help combat gender-based political violence. Amongst other requirements, these stipulated that, beginning in 2021, no aspiring candidate can be convicted or accused of domestic violence, sexual misconduct, or have defaulted on alimony payments.
The guidelines approved by the INE were in response to the #3de3VsViolencia initiative introduced in August of this year by female members of the Chamber of Deputies (from Morena, the PAN, PRI, PRD, and MC) and Yndira Sandoval, cofounder of an organization called the Feminist Constituents (Las Constituyentes Feministas). The iniative delineated that no male with a record of violence against women be allowed to occupy a position in the legislature, executive or judiciary. Building on the #3de3VsViolencia, the INE guidelines outlined some methods to “ensure equality and guarantee women’s ability to exercise their political and electoral rights within parties,” including for political parties to:
1) Investigate, sanction, repair, and eradicate gender based political violence
2) Promote, protect, and respect women’s rights
3) Possess plans of action for victims
4) Develop statutes that establish mechanisms to eliminate gender based political violence
5) Facilitate documentation of accusations concerning such violence
6) Create interparty justice bodies with gender parity
7) Determine a body that can assist victims
8) Establish comprehensive methods of redress
9) Require that political candidates sign paperwork and swear under oath that they have not been convicted or do not face charges of domestic violence, sexual misconduct, or alimony debts.
These guidelines will also establish a national registry of persons sanctioned for gender-based political violence against women.
Leading up to the INE’s vote, the Feminist Constituents mounted a sizable media campaign across various platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Their posts focused on circulating data to help build support for the #3de3VsViolencia initiative. This included highlighting that three out of four children with separated parents do not receive alimony payments, for example, and that 166,812 cases of domestic violence and 22,462 cases of sexual assault and rape against women were registered from January to September 2020.
While representatives of various Mexican political parties have voiced their willingness to abide by the guidelines, INE councilors emphasized that this commitment must be reflected in concrete actions, as well. Martha Tagle, a representative of the Citizen’s Movement (Movimiento Ciudadano), deemed the new requisites essential. She argued that it is impossible to uphold laws protecting women, if lawmaking bodies are comprised of the very individuals who commit gender-based violence. The INE’s Councilor President, Lorenzo Córdova, reiterated claims of the guidelines’ necessity, referencing how violence against women who “dared to exercise their rights” increased since 2018, when Mexico implemented legislation stipulating gender parity in politics.
Morena representative Lorena Villavicencio Ayala countered outcries by some male politicians that #3de3VsViolencia aims to persecute men, highlighting how the initiative merely strives to uphold the first article of the constitution—respect and protection of human rights. Moreover, Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández, President of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Deputies, pointed to requirements of the Organization of American States (Organización de los Estados Americanos, OEA), that civil servants be honest and respect the rights of all individuals. Rojas also stated that the #3de3VsViolencia initiative would promote democracy in Mexico and improve low levels of trust in institutions, by ensuring that only the most law-abiding/rights-protecting candidates occupy government positions.
Various requirements outlined in the INE guidelines have been previously debated within the Mexican government. In July of this year, the Superior Chamber of the Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation (Sala Superior del Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación, TEPJF) voted 5 v. 2 in favor of a national registry for those convicted of gender-based political violence. One of the dissenting judges, Reyes Rodríguez Mondragón, published a tweet stating that the creation of such a list had, “no constitutional basis.” Only time will tell to what extent the INE guidelines are upheld, and if they will face legal challenges on grounds of unconstitutionality.
“ACUERDO del Consejo General del Instituto Nacional Electoral por el que se aprueban los Lineamientos para la integración, funcionamiento, actualización y conservación del Registro Nacional de Personas Sancionadas en Materia de Violencia Política contra las Mujeres en Razón de Género, en acatamiento a la sentencia dictada por la Sala Superior del Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación en el expediente SUP-REC-91/2020 y acumulado.” Diario Oficial de la Federación de México, September 22, 2020.