Promoting dialogue is your best public policy tool

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By Karla Mendoza Alcántara, Co-founder of Agil(e) and Director of Public Affairs


The results of the mid-term congressional elections held in June this year show that Mexico is a country where pluralism is still very much present, but which now is deeply divided. We see clear evidence of the fact that despite the existing multiparty system, Andres Manuel López Obrador’s party, Morena, continues to increase its influence nationally. 


With this election behind us, all the country’s political forces have begun to prepare for the 2024 presidential election. For some parties, the current political context means surviving, while for others it means advancing or at least maintaining their power. Any organization interested in promoting public policy issues and legislation must up their game and understand how to interact with what are now the main political forces in order of their percentage of representation in Congress:  Morena, PAN, PRI, PRD, MC, PT, PVEM. 


In the current political context, planning and implementing strategies to create and strengthen civil society voices to increase their relevance and influence is essential. Organizations and companies need to not only respond to short term challenges but lay the groundwork for future scenarios beyond 2024. Regardless of where Mexico is headed, we are certain that the political configuration will change yet again, particularly because there is no re-election in Mexico and even if a hand-picked successor to AMLO wins the next election, his very personal brand of politics will change regardless. For this reason, it is of utmost importance not to minimize any political party or politician’s power and to diversify your relationships with the various forces in Congress and beyond. 


This diversification presents challenges, of course, precisely because of the current polarization of politics and an increasingly demanding and impatient citizenry, which is demanding better living conditions and is very divided over how to achieve this. Further, the agenda of confrontation and the radicalization of public policy positions will continue to be the rule as the current government seeks to divide and conquer and jockeying for position intensifies.  


Under these circumstances, the scenario to be avoided by any organization seeking to influence public policies is to get caught in the middle, becoming a pawn in the infighting within parties and between parties. Precisely to avoid this, a solution for any organization can be solidified by active listening to understand the pressing needs of society, and to be able to translate them into proactive, neutral and non-partisan proposals. If the final goal is making a concrete difference beyond the noise of politics, this is the approach that can work in the current context. 


One useful approach is to be a convener of dialogues on issues of public policy to bring together disparate voices at one table that might not do so if invited by a member of the opposition party.  Becoming a catalyst for agreements that can be multi-sector and multi-party in focus, as well as working collaboratively on issues of public interest, will provide legitimacy and strength to positively influence the public agenda, with buttressing reputation. 


There is no doubt that the presidential election The electoral race for 2024 began the day after the midterm elections. In order to have an effective impact, it is necessary to work on a collaborative public agenda that, at the very least, allows us to respond to the country’s pressing needs. To achieve this, it will require the political work of non-governmental actors and a great operational capacity to ensure that the issues of interest are considered in the agendas of most of the political forces represented. 


In the run up to the presidential election of 2024, collaboration is king and avoiding confrontation with any political force is advisable. Taking steps to work constructively can help put an end to the «reactive mode» in which many organizations find themselves where they are simply responding to the agenda that has been imposed on them. The opportunity is there, but it will not be realized without a lot of work on the ground, which implies working to define areas of common ground before conflicts escalate. Working to buttress Mexico democratic framework with the active participation of civil society – the private sector included – has never been more important. 


This article was originally published in Spanish by 24 HORAS

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