Monday, August 11, 2008

The continuing dominance of the PRI in Mexican politics

This article from New Mexico State University's Frontera NorteSur courtesy of Mexidata makes some interesting observations about the current political reality in Mexico. While the author's suggestion that ex-president Carlos Salinas' political career is on the rise again seems a little off base (what seems more likely is that he is hell bent on attempting to clear his name for posterity), the article does touch on the continuing importance of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexican politics even after their historic electoral  defeat in 2000 and their dismal performance in the 2006 general elections. 

Even though the conservative National Action Party (PAN) has won the presidency in the last two consecutive elections, and is now the largest party in both chambers of the Mexican Congress, the PRI has essentially had veto power almost all major legislation put forth by either the PAN or the left wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). As just one example, from 2000-2006, the PRI was on the losing side of only 10 votes in Mexico's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, and continues to be a vital coalition partner for the PAN. It is only on rare occasions, and never on major policy issues, where the PAN and the PRD have voted together against the PRI. This record bodes well for the PRI in future electoral contests and also suggests that if some type of oil reform of Mexico's national oil company PEMEX passes this fall, it will be to the liking of the PRI.

It seems likely, as the article suggests, that the PRI will do well in the upcoming 2009 elections for the Chamber of Deputies, just as they did in 2003. However, it still seems too early to predict a PRI victory for the presidency in 2012, despite numerous attempts to do so in this article and elsewhere in the Mexican press.