Politics in Mexico

Politics in Mexico (1929-2000)

• Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)

dominance

• established by then president in 1929

• a mechanism for

– resolving conflicts

• sub-national personalistic political machines

– co-opting newly emerging interest groups

– legitimating the regime through elections

• most stable regime in Latin America

Democracy or not?

• 1950s and 1960s

– one-party democracy

– incomplete political

development

• 1960s and 1970s

– government’s massacre of

student protesters

– authoritarian system

• subject to qualifications

Democracy or not?

• part-free, part-authoritarian system

– has long defied easy classification:

– “selective democracy”

– “hard-line democracy”

– or “modernizing authoritarian regime”

• partly competitive elections

– not necessarily fair and honest

Turnout in national elections

Authoritarian regime

• Governments were more committed to

– maintaining political stability

– maintaining labor discipline

• than to

– expanding democratic freedoms

– protecting human rights

– mediating class conflict

• electoral fraud and selective repression

Pragmatic authoritarian regime

• Institutional system, not personalistic

– leadership renewal and executive succession

• inclusion and co-opt

– leaders of potential dissident groups

– new organizations for emerging interests

• repression

– student protests in 1960s and 1970s

– leftist militants in 1970s and 1980s

Constitutional structure

• On paper, Mexican government is much

like the U.S. government

• presidential system

• 3 branches of government

– legislative, executive, and judicial

– checks and balances

• federalism

– autonomy at the local level

Federal system

• Federalism enshrined in 1917 constitution

• often political centralism in practice

– concentration of decision-making power

• level of govt. / share of public spending

• Federal government 80%

• Federal District & 31 states 16%

• 2,401 counties 4%

In practice

• Until late 1990s, Mexico’s system of

government was very different from U.S.

• highly centralized decision making

– few restraints on President’s authority

– President dominated legislature and judiciary

• PRI controlled

– both houses of the federal legislature

– most public offices (political appointees)

PRI’s political control

• Corporatist system of interest

representation

– relate citizens and social sectors to the state

– state-sanctioned organizations

PRI’s political control

• PRI itself was divided into 3 sectors

– labor sector

– peasant sector

– popular sector

• other organizations were affiliated with PRI

Decline of PRI

• From 1988 to 1991 PRI’s control of the

Congress was significantly weakened

– 260/500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies

– 60/64 seats in the Senate

• 1993 electoral reform

– expanded opposition parties presence

– in both Senate and the Chamber of Deputies

• divisions within PRI

• 2000 presidential election ended 70 year

rule

PRI’s dilemma

• Transform from an official government

party to a competitive political party

• older, less educated, and low-income

voters

Opposition parties

• National Action Party (PAN)

– urban middle class

– also attracted conservative peasants and

urban working class

– large cities in Mexico

• except Mexico City

• Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)

– Mexico City mayor

48%

24%

25%

42%

41%

10%

0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

90%

100%

1997 2000

Parties in Mexican Congress

PRD

PAN

PRI

2003 election to Chamber

• Party SMD PR Seats %

• PAN 80 71 151 30

• PRI 160 62 222 44

• PRD 40 55 95 19

• PT 0 6 6 1.2

• PVEM 0 17 17 3.4

• C 0 5 5 1.0

―300 by the first-past-the-post (SMD) system

and 200 by proportional representation (PR).

2000 presidential election

• PAN candidate Vicente Fox won

• PRI’s 71-year monopoly over presidential

power in Mexico came to an end

2006 presidential election PAN (Blue) = 35.89%,

(Felipe Calderón

Hinojosa)

PRD (Yellow) = 35.31%

(López Obrador)

Figure 8.2 Legislative Electoral Trends in Mexico

Mexico: Presidential

Election (July 1, 2012)

Dominant Issue in Mexico’s 2012

Presidential Election

• Violence & drug

cartels

– President Calderon’s

policies

– Performance (47,000

killed in six years)

– Alternatives

• Hugs not bullets

• Blocking drugs from

reaching the U.S.

(behind the scenes

accommodations)

Partido

Revolucionario

Instucional (PRI

• Native: state of Mexico

• Long-time militant in PRI

• Leader of a new generation

of PRI party leaders

• Governor: State of Mexico

• Repository of continuing

suspicion of PRI and its style

of governing

• Popular vote – 19,225,745

• Winner – 38.21%

Enrique Peña Nieto

Presidential Election Results (in

detail) (Mexico 2012) Candidate Party Votes %

Enrique Peña Nieto Institutional Revolutionary

Party 18,727,398 39.10

Andrés Manuel López

Obrador

Party of the Democratic

Revolution 15,535,117 32.43

Josefina Vázquez Mota National Action Party 12,473,106 26.04

Gabriel Quadri de la Torre New Alliance Party 1,129,108 2.36

Non-registered candidates 31,660 0.07

Invalid/blank votes 1,191,057 –

Total 49,087,446 100

Registered voters/turnout 77,738,494 63.1

Source: PREP (98.95% of polling stations reporting)

States won by Peña Nieto in green, López Obrador in yellow, Vázquez Mota in blue.

Economics

• 1940-70: mixture of gov’t & private ownership

• Oil revenues allowed protectionist policies

• Growing economy until…

• Poor choices about new oil discoveries

– Heavy borrowing to continue protectionist policies

– Borrowed against anticipated high oil prices

• Oil prices fell in late 1970s

– Couldn’t service debt

– Financial crises 1980s-1990s

Economics

• Maquiladoras

• Opened Mexico to greater foreign

investment

• Nature of exports shifted

– 1982: oil & minerals 78%

– 2001: manufactured goods 90%

• Reforms have had mixed results

– Inflation fluctuates (6-160%)

– Number of monopolies decreasing

– Many people still live in poverty

NAFTA

• Opened American & Canadian markets

• Opened Mexican markets to the North

– Required removal of many tariffs

– Increased competition within Mexico

• Increased pressure for democratic reform

Foreign Policy

• Universalism and nonalignment

• Love-hate relationship with U.S.

• Resents U.S. domination

– But can do little about it

– Depends on U.S. markets, jobs &

investments

• Currently working closer with U.S.

– NAFTA & war of terrorism

• Recently more activist internationally

Transition

• Driven by two competing forces

– Need for economic liberalization

– Need for political liberalization

• NAFTA provides new opportunities

– But also increases competition