It’s been a memorable few days for Jalisco lawmaker Pedro Kumamoto, who in 2015 shocked the political establishment by running as an independent candidate and winning a seat in the state legislature aged just 27.
Last week, in the wake of securing an important victory in his struggle to reform the funding of political parties in Mexico, Kumamoto surprisingly announced that he will run for a Senate seat in next year’s federal election.
Kumamoto made the bombshell announcement as he and the organization Wikipolitica hosted “La Occupation,” a four-day conference/incubator on the direction of political change in Mexico.
Many pundits had speculated that Kumamoto would continue his political career by running for mayor of Zapopan as an independent in next year’s elections. He told his supporters that he came to his decision to run for a federal office after realizing the “emergency the entire country is experiencing.”
Kumamoto said listening to the concerns of citizens on his travels convinced him that Jalisco and the rest of the country would be better served by taking his political movement – based on the principle of greater citizen participation – into the federal domain.
To run for the Senate Kumamoto will need to collect 113,000 signatures of support, a task that will not be beyond him and his supporters. However, while he is well known and enjoys the core backing of Wikipolitica in metro-area Guadalajara, he will need to expand his base to other regions of Jalisco, where the formal political parties have strong roots.
Should he win, Kumamoto would become Mexico’s youngest-ever senator.
Prior to his announcement last weekend, Kumamoto learned that Mexico’s Supreme Court had rejected a challenge to annul his bill “Sin Votos No Hay Dinero,” which will dramatically cut the funding of political parties in Jalisco.
The bill will allocate funding dependent on the number of ballots cast for each party, thus giving people a bigger incentive to go out and exercise their right to vote. It has been one of Kumamoto’s key legislative goals over the past two years.
The bill had been challenged by several parties on the basis that elections and the funding of parties comes under the jurisdiction of federal, and not state authorities. The Supreme Court dismissed the argument and the bill will become law in this state once signed by the governor.
Together with Wikipolitica, Kumamoto is now spearheading the movement to replicate the bill in Mexico’s 31 other states.