On Saturday, 15 July, Mexico´s President-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, held a press conference on the front steps of his campaign headquarters to announce his general guidelines for combatting corruption and implementing austerity in the federal government.

The accompanying published document lists fifty bullet-point guidelines, that get quite specific on restricting benefits and salaries for public officials (starting with himself), and regulating public contracts and government purchases. Although the guidelines contain many sweeping proposals (such as amending the Constitution to eliminate most forms of immunity for public servants), a few in particular will be of special interest to our clients. Fleshed out with his other pronouncements, the highlighted guidelines are as follows:

  • All government contracts will be consolidated in a single government office, with personal oversight by the President and monitoring by citizens commissions and UN observers.
  • The incoming administration will review all current contracts to detect any indications of corruption or unfavorable effects on public finances.
  • There will be no "computer systems" purchases during the first year of the new administration.
  • Public officials will not be allowed to use private airplanes or helicopters, travel abroad without proper authorization from the secretary of their government department, or attend social or sports events or trips with contractors, suppliers or investors.
  • Public officials will not be allowed to receive gifts with a value greater than 260 USD.

These guidelines build on policies Lopez Obrador had discussed during his campaign. Morena, Mr. Obrador's political party, will hold a majority in both houses of Congress, making it likely that these guidelines will become law. The Peña administration is already facilitating some of these measures, so they may have impact long before the 1 December handover of power.