Mexican President Felipe Calderon [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday signed a reform [press release, in Spanish] to the Mexican Constitution [text, PDF, in Spanish] that eliminates the president's ability to use a pocket veto to prevent the passage of a bill. Originally, the president could kill the legislation by ignoring it for 30 days. The constitutional reform now requires the president to take action on a bill within 30 days of receipt. Otherwise, the bill will automatically become law. Calderon stated that the change reiterates his commitment [statement, in Spanish] to strengthening Mexico's democratic system.
Calderon's administration has been plagued with accusations of corruption and rights violations. Last week, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission [official website, in Spanish] released a report contending that military and law enforcement officials conduct illegal searches and engage in a "systematic pattern" of coercive, threatening and abusive behavior [JURIST report] in their efforts to combat the country's narcotics trade. Following the April resignation [JURIST report] of former Mexican attorney general Arturo Chavez, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) [official website] last month charged [JURIST report] 111 officials who served under Chavez with various corruption-related offenses, including falsifying documents, interfering with the administration of justice, abuse of power, perjury and bribery. Additionally, 140 police officers were fired and it was disclosed that 280 more are under investigation. Mexico has struggled to combat the drug cartels' influence on the government and the country as a whole. There have been more than 27,000 drug-related deaths [STRATFOR report] since 2006, and the violence has steadily escalated over the past few years. In April 2009, Mexico's Senate passed a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] permitting the seizure of suspected drug traffickers' property prior to their conviction. In 2008, a former assistant attorney general was arrested for receiving bribes, and Mexico's prosecutor's office admitted that it had been infiltrated [JURIST reports] by the drug cartels.