300 PALABRAS – The Annual Presidential Report

Under Mexico's Constitution, and based on a long standing tradition introduced in the twentieth century, Mexico's President is required to appear in person before Mexico's Congress in order to deliver his administration's annual report. The personal delivery of such report, however, is no longer a glamorous event. In the past, the delivery of the annual report was a festive civic event that turned into a form of homage to Mexico's sitting president. The 2000 presidential electoral results, and particularly the disagreements of Presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon with opposition members of Congress, resulted in an amendment to the Constitution that no longer requires the President to be physically present before the Congress to submit his annual report. Mexico's Constitution now only requires that the president submit a report in writing each year on the first of September. Previously, President Calderon had addressed the nation from the National Auditorium, a large facility located on Mexico City's Reforma Avenue. Such events were attended by individuals close to the President. In order to ensure a smooth presentation, no member of the opposition was ever invited. This year, President Calderon decided to use radio and television broadcasts to provide his reflections on the past year and to share his vision on what needs to be accomplished in the future, and he addressed the nation from the Anthropology Museum, also in Mexico City. The Anthropology Museum is a relatively small facility that accommodates a smaller number of attendees, television cameras and microphones and which is generally inadequate for a presidential address to the Nation. President Calderon's administration explained that the National Auditorium was not used this year in order to pay respect to the dozens of victims who lost their lives in the incident that recently took place in Monterrey. This explanation did not satisfy many Mexicans, who are still accustomed to the old presidential report format. What is clear is that Mexico's "President's Day" has been cancelled. The so-called "Presidential Report" (or Informe Presidencial) has been minimized from an important ritual to a presentation that has only a small impact on current affairs and the future of Mexico. Although this change in format has occurred, a dialogue between two branches of the Mexico government is desperately needed as much or more today than ever before.

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