Mexico's Current Politics

Mexico’s political structure is that of a federal presidential representative democratic republic. Government is congressional and the president of Mexico is head of state and head of the multi-party government. It has three levels: federal, state, and municipal government. Mexico City is the Federal District of Mexico and therefore the seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. Mexico City is not part of any of the other thirty-one Mexican states; instead it belongs to the federation. The political system of Mexico is based on the 1917 Constitution, drafted during the Revolution. The constitution has undergone multiple amendments such as the 2005 amendment which banned the use of capital punishment.

The three dominant political parties in Mexico are the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institutional or the Institutional Revolutionary Party), the PAN (Partido Accion Nacional or the National Action Party) and the PRD (Partido de la Revolucion Democratica or the Party of the Democratic Revolution). The PRI ruled Mexico for seventy-one consecutive years but lost to PAN in 2000. After decades in power corruption and fraudulent practices had become deeply ingrained.

In 2006, Felipe Calderon of PAN very narrowly defeated Manuel Lopez Obrador of the PRD. Obrador briefly set up his own government after his supporters named him the Legitimate President, establishing the Cabinet of Denunciation to counter moves made by the Calderon government. In the 2012 election after a twelve year hiatus PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto was voted in to take over from Felipe Calderon whose name has become associated with the USA’s controversial War on Drugs.

Shortly after the 2012 election PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador insisted on a recount of votes. This and allegations of vote buying overshadowed Nieto’s result in the election. Nieto insisted that change of strategy would be one of his party’s priorities. He claims to represent a modernized party ready to tackle the issues facing Mexico today and determined to avoid the mistakes of the past.