The Mayan Indian rebels in Chiapas Mexico have conducted all their affairs by "la consulta" or vote of the people. Juan Ojeda, 25-yr assistant to the Nobel-nominated Bishop Ruiz, visited Denver in July. He told us that some 500,000 participate regularly in the consultas, deciding local affairs and each step of the negotiations with the government. He says that everyone including children participate! Now the idea is spreading:

(from La Jornada, april 16, 1996)

Political Parties Agree on Electoral Reforms

After four and a half months of negotiations, political parties agreed on a "first stage" of electoral reform on April 15. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Workers Party (PT) announced that they had reached agreement on 79 reforms, which will entail 28 constitutional amendments. Eleven of the reforms refer to the Federal District's electoral process.

The most important reforms include: the re-composition of the Federal Electoral Institute, without representatives from the Executive or Legislative branches; the principle of equity in campaign financing and access to electronic media; barring anonymous campaign or party contributions; legally establishing the use of referendums as a means of popular consultation; and a law that would allow citizens the opportunity to propose laws themselves. [Initiatives]

The parties will request a special session of Congress to address the reform issues. The National Action Party (PAN) withdrew from the negotiations several weeks ago, and thus did not participate in the announcement.