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  1. Mexico

  2. Think… “It’s all about the PRI (and what they weren’t)”

  3. Overview: The Big Picture • System of Government: Presidential • Distribution of Power: Federal System • Electoral System: Mixed System: SMDP and PR • Constitution: Constitution of 1917 • Legislature: Bicameral—Chamber of Deputies & Senate • Current Head of State: Felipe Calderon • Head of Government: Felipe Calderon • Current Ruling Party: PAN • Major Political Parties: PRI, PAN, PRD

  4. Why Study Mexico? (From AP Briefing Paper) • Constitution of 1917 was model for other progressive movements in Latin America • Longest single-party government in the modern world • Mexico political system was very stable during 20th century • Political economy is a classic example of the challenges and prospects of the transition from state-led development to neoliberal economic policy • NAFTA

  5. MEXICO IN COMPARATIVE CONTEXT • Revolutions: Russian, Chinese, and Iranian • One-Party Rule: Russia China • Relatively unique, • Democratic façade but Mexican transition to democracy did not require building new institutions from scratch (China and Russia), but rather breathing life into preexisting institutions that had been dormant because of one party rule. • Dual-Transition : Russia • From a socialist economy to a market economy AND from authoritarian rule to democracy • Provides a great comparison with Russia • Oil: All • All six countries in AP curriculum are major producers of oil • Mexico contrasts with Iran and Nigeria in that they are not rentier states • Only 7% of Mexico’s export earnings come from oil (Iran: 80% and Nigeria: 90-95%)

  6. Newly Industrializing & Less Developed Countries • So far, advanced democracies and communist or post-communist countries • However, vast majority of countries in the world have neither liberal-democratic or communist regimes. • Commonalities: • All struggle with economic issues, including poverty, low GNPs, trade dependency, and weakness of infastrcture. • Most LCD are currently developing fragile democracies. • Many still have dictators, millitary leaders, or monarchs, but industrialization and modernization (higher levels of education wealth) are slowly eroding their power.

  7. Economic Development • Economic liberalization, GNP, PPP and per capita GNP • Percentage of Labor Force Occupied • Primary Sector (agriculture) • Secondary Sector (industry) • Tertiary Sector (services) • Theories of Economic Development • Westernization Model • Dependency Theory • *in reality, all are a blend of both

  8. Economic Development • Economic Policies in Less-Developed World • Import Substitution • Export-Oriented Industrialization Political Development • Democratization • Political liberalization • Failed state

  9. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS IN MEXICO(ETHEL WOOD) SOVEREIGNTY, AUTHORITY, AND POWER • Colonialism to Independence to Revolution to PRI • What was the common thread of power? • Authoritarian…small group of people rule • Major impact on political culture

  10. Sovereignty, Authority, and Power • Legitimacy • Mexican citizens consider government and its power legitimate • Sources of Legitimacy • Revolution of 1910-1911 • Admiration of revolutionary leaders, Hidalgo, Juarez, Zapata, Pancho Villa, Lazaro Cardenas • Seen as acceptable path to change, and charisma is highly valued as a leadership characteristic • PRI • Revolution legitimized by the formation of PRI in 1929 • Constitution written during this era, three-branches of government, but PRI was intended to stabilize power in the hands of its leaders.

  11. Sovereignty, Authority, and Power • Historical Traditions • Historical traditions divided into three stages of development: Colonialism, chaos of 19th and 20th century, and emphasis on economic development during recent history • Key Concepts: (Page 193) • Authoritarianism • Populism • Power Plays/Divisions within the Elite • Instability and Legitimacy Issues.

  12. Political Culture • Strong Sense of National Identity: Mexicans share strong sense of national identification based on a common history, dominant religion and language. • The Importance of Religion • Catholic Church power has been reduced…..kind of .. • Patron-Clientelism (Camarillos) • This system of cliques based on personal connections and charismatic leadership has served as glue that has held agrarian Mexico together through practicing “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. • Elite Spanish model of governing • Erodes sense of responsibility to people and country • Breeds corruption • Democratization and industrialization have put pressure on this system. • Economic Dependency • Always been in someone’s shadow…Spain then U.S.

  13. Geographic Influence • Never underestimate the power of simple geography to explain (or create) internal differences in a country. • Mexico is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world • Mountains and Deserts = Regionalism • Varied Climates = size creates different experiences • Natural Resources = create disproportional wealth • A long border with the United States = shadow • 111,000,000 People = huge influence on • Urban Population = great impact on political support

  14. Political & Economic Change • Read Introduction: Ethel Woods p.194 • Historical Influences Divided into Three Parts • Colonialism • Independence (1821) until Revolution of 1910 • The 20th Century after Revolution • Colonialism: Impact • Cultural heterogeneity (mestizo) • Catholicism (spread into country-side) • Economic Dependency (controlled by Spain)

  15. Political & Economic Change • Independence (1821) until Revolution of 1910 • The New Country • Instability and legitimacy issues • Rise of Military • Domination by the United States • Liberal vs. Conservative Struggle • “The Porfiriato” 1876-1911 • A military coup : Porfirio ruled for 34 years • Dictatorship • Impact • Stability • Authoritarianism • Foreign Investment and economic growth • Growing gap between rich and poor • Revolution!

  16. Political & Economic Change • The 20th Century after Revolution (1910-2010) • The Influence of this Era • Patron-Client System (caudillos) From revolution • Constitution of 1917 • Conflict with Catholic Church (losing power) • Establishment of PRI • ALL ABOUT THE ELITE, NOT THE PEOPLE—IT’S AN ELITE POWER SHARING PLAN • PLAN: All Caudillos under one party • Agreement to “pass around” power • Sexenio of President • All other leaders would have major gov’t positions. • “Instutionalize” the revolution by stabilizing conflict between leaders

  17. Political & Economic Change • The 20th Century after Revolution (1910-2010) • The Cardenas Upheaval (1934-1940) • Redistribution of Land • Nationalization of Industry (PEMEX) • Investments in Public Works • Removal of Military from overt political involvement • Encouragement of Peasant and Union Organization • Concentration of Power in Presidency • Proved incredibly durable and led to pattern of PRI-dominated politics, as each PRI president hand picked his successor • Proved to be stable and internally legitimate • Called the “perfect dictatorship”

  18. Political & Economic Change • The 20th Century after Revolution (1910-2010) • The Emergence of Technicos and the Pendulum Theory • Pendulum Theory • Neoliberalism • Mexican Miracle

  19. Carlos Salinas (1988-1994) • Opened the economy to foreign trade and privatized nationalized industry in an attempt to modernize • Privatization caused and increase in gap between rich and poor, leading to a revolt in Chiapas • Paved way for downfall of PRI one-party rule

  20. 2000 Election • Vicente Fox Wins! – Partido Accion National (PAN) • This changed caused political scientists to be optimistic about democratic rule in Mexico • Mexico has been able to take control of its economic system in a way that most developing countries have not. • It has raised the standard of living of most of it’s citizens

  21. 2006 Election • PAN won. PRD second. PRI last. • Felipe Calderon (PAN) won. • Andres Lopez Obrador (PRD) lost, but challenged the results • PRD, the leftist party in Mexican politics challenged the election • Obrador vowed to protest and vowed to set up a parallel government in which his supporters would answer to him. • Obrador’s supporters and others declared that the election was not free and fair, calling into question Calderon’s ability to hold power legitimately • Judicial branch validated election…AND it was followed! • Liberal democracy in Mexico?

  22. Political Structures and Institutions • Nature of the regime? One-party democracy evolving toward “true” democracy? Authoritarian regime? • Hybrid: part-free, part authoritarian • Democratic breakthrough election of 2000 and 2006 • In sum, classifying the structure of government in Mexico is difficult

  23. Political Structures and Institutions • On Paper: • Constitution of 1917 sets up a democracy • Presidential system with three autonomous branches of government with checks and balances and federalism. • In Practice: • Mexico’s system is highly centralized • The president had very few restraints on his power • President completely dominated the legislature and judicial branches • The majority of those elected to public office, were appointees who were named to their positions by higher-ups within in PRI (known as camarillas) • Reelection is prohibited • Meaning that there is massive turnover with each election and no experience of legislature to draw on

  24. Federalism • Mexico is a federal system • 31 states and the federal district (Mexico City) • Each state is divided into municipals • System is classified as Political Centralism • Meaning that there is a concentration of power at the federal level, although there are elections for local officials • Each layer of government successively weaker • PRONASOL (National Solidarity Program) • A program of revenue sharing that was implemented • Goal: to shift decision-making authority over public education and health care to the states

  25. The Legislative Branch • Federal Congress—Two Houses • Senate • 128 member upper chamber • has exclusive power to oversee foreign affairs, primarily conducted by the president • has power to remove state governors and depose state legislatures • Chamber of Deputies • 500 member lower house • all revenue bills originate in lower house • has power over appropriations and budget oversight

  26. The Legislative Branch • Election process • Mixed electoral system • Both houses employ a mixed system in which some members are elected by plurality vote in single member districts, while others are elected by a system of proportional representation of closed party lists. • 2 %minimum winning threshold • The mixed member system has led to a three-party system in which most of the regions now have two-party systems but nationally the vote is split into three main blocks • President has veto power over legislation • This caused a stalemate during Vicente Fox’s term

  27. Legislative Branch • Presidential vetoes • Can take two forms • Regular veto, in which the president expresses his rejection of a bill • Corrective veto, in which the president requests that Congress amend the bill, usually because of technical errors in the text • In either case, Congress can insist on the original text of the bill by a two-thirds vote, after which the president must publish the legislation

  28. The Executive Branch • More dominant political actor in Mexico for the greater part of the twentieth century • Possessed broad range of unwritten but generally recognized “metaconstitutional” powers • Power is concentrated in the executive—presedencialismo • Other government branches take their cues from the president • Has veto power over legislature • The president has traditionally handpicked his successor, Vicente Fox did not

  29. The Executive Branch • Requirements for “metaconstitutional” presidential power • Unified Government (legislative control). • High party discipline in the ruling party. • Recognition of the President as head of party. • When in place, the president can rule without regard to constitution (PRI rule) • When all three do not exist, executive-legislative relations follow constitutional rather than partisan norms. (post 1997)

  30. Executive-Legislative Relations • Once true that president presided over a compliant legislature • With the end of PRI-dominance, this is no longer true • Vicente Fox had significant difficulties getting many of his programs passed through the legislative branch • Fox only had 41% of seats in lower chamber

  31. Political Parties: PRI • Established with the goal of reducing political conflict • Cardenas transformed the party into a mass-based political party that could be used to build popular support for government policies and mobilize participation in elections • Cardenas merged local, state and national organizations of peasants and urban workers that had been created during his presidency • Party became appendage to the government itself • Party enjoyed unlimited access to government funds to finance its campaigns. • President enjoyed a slush fund “authorized” by congress • Many of the advantages were challenged when the Salinas administration introduced electoral reforms, and the PRI had to adjust form being an official party to being a party out of power

  32. Political Parties: PAN • Party that represents the views on the right of the ideological spectrum. • Established in reaction to the leftward drift of public policy under Cardenas, especially his policies to support socialist public education • Founders included Catholic intellectuals and urban middle class • It also attracts votes from socially conservative peasants and the urban working class

  33. Political Parties: PRD • Represents the left of the ideological spectrum • Members believe in moderate socialist political ideas • Some who lean toward a communist ideology

  34. The Shifting of Mexico’s Parties • After 2006 election, social basis of support for parties shifted dramatically • PRI’s base was once rural, but in 2006 it was the PRD who took the rural and poor vote • PAN retained its support with urban voters and young voters • Region played the biggest role in determining the outcome of the vote • PRD is weak in northern and central states, but strong in Mexico City • The North-South split proved to be biggest cleavage in Mexican politics

  35. Elite Recruitment • Who becomes one of Mexico’s political elite? • Recruited predominantly from the middle class • 1982-2000 mostly people born or raised in Mexico City • Postgraduate education, especially at elite foreign universities and in disciplines such as economics and public administration • Vincente Fox favored persons with nongovernmental experience and who had no political party affiliation. • Calderon had an MA in economics and public administration (latter from Harvard) and had extensive party experience.

  36. Elite Recruitment • Revolution caused a hostile attitude toward serving multiple terms, so political leaders are restricted to serving one term • Cabinet filled with tecnicos • People who spend their entire careers in the bureaucracy • Kinship ties • Political inbreeding

  37. Interest Articulation & Political Control • Corporatist • A system of interest representation in which Each citizen is expected to relate to the state through a single structure “licensed” by the state to organize and represent themselves (peasants, teachers, etc.) • In sum, a number of PRI-controlled interest groups dominate politics • Result: Patron-client networks in which favors were exchanged between citizens and members of the government.

  38. Government Performance Promoting economic Growth &Reducing Poverty • Mexico has experienced impressive economic gains, some credit should be given to government policies • Foreign investment and the privatization of national industry led to massive public investments in infrastructure • This has led to a stimulation of the economy, economic growth, and low inflation

  39. Government Performance Promoting economic Growth &Reducing Poverty • Neoliberal economic development • Describes the idea of allowing free markets and foreign investment • Standard of living of middle class Mexicans has improved • Dark side of economy • The poor remain desperately poor • Much lower living standard than the poor in industrialized countries • Income gap between urban and rural lifestyles remains great • Suffered through periods of very high inflation

  40. Government Performance Promoting economic Growth &Reducing Poverty • Because of belief that oil revenues would be guaranteed income, the government borrowed heavily abroad. • When oil prices decline, the government was forced to suspend repayment of foreign debt. • US helped renegotiate term, but Mexico remains heavily in debt. • Selinas disaster of 1994—capital flight of $10 billion in one week.

  41. Rule of Law and Mexico’s Future • Lacks rule of law that one finds in many industrialized nations • Crime is rampant • Justice is infrequently served • Police are corrupt (in part because of low pay) • Prospect of Democracy in Mexico • Elections have become as free and fair as industrialized nations • Economic performance has been mixed • Rule of law is lacking • Jury still out on whether or not Mexico will successfully transition to democracy

  42. Current Policy Challenges • Playing catch up!: with international trading partners • To modernize: it must modernize its agricultural sector to allow it to survive competition from countries that have subsidies to make their goods cheaper. • Maintain job growth • Renovate energy sector • Accommodate aging population • Politically: Maintain fair and transparent election process

  43. What I didn’t Discuss in Class… • Political Socialization • Political Culture • How do Mexicans feel about their government? • You are responsible for all of this information!


  45. International Environment • Economy • Intertwined with the United States • Many workers emigrate to the US both legally and illegally • US is one of Mexico’s largest trading partners • mid-1990s peso was devalued, making imports from Mexico extremely cheap in the US, and Mexico’s trade deficit grew to record heights • Many US companies saw Mexico as an ideal place for investment and established multinational corporations (maquiladoras) along US-Mexican border

  46. International Environment • NAFTA • Required lowering trade barriers between US, Mexico and Canada. • Mixed results • NAFTA led to a greater diversity of available products, lifting the standard of living for some • But increased the gap between the rich and the poor and wages in Mexico have stayed low.

  47. Political Culture and Socialization • Most Mexicans are supportive of the political institutions that evolved from the Mexican Revolution and they endorse the democratic principles of the Constitution of 1917 • On the other hand, they are critical of government performance in: • Creating jobs • Reducing social and economic inequality • Delivering public services • Government officials are viewed as elite and corrupt