Mexican Domestic Politics: Recent Developments, Short-term Outlook

February 4, 2004 • 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

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A panel of experts from Mexico and the United States analyzed Mexico's dynamic domestic political landscape at a conference hosted by CSIS on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Panelists discussed political realignment within the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), rising volatility within and among political parties, and the implications of state and federal-level electoral politics on the reform agenda. "Triggered by disagreement regarding the party's position on President Fox's fiscal reform proposal, the division of the PRI into two well-defined factions and the unlikely legislative alliances that resulted has sent shockwaves through the Mexican political system," said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, director of the CSIS Mexico Project. "The implications of this realignment on Mexico's governability have yet to be fully understood. As we commence 2004, Mexico's political landscape appears to have become even more intricate." At the event, a distinguished panel of scholars, legislators, and CSIS experts discussed party leadership, consensus building, and intra-party alliances in the context of the remaining three years of the Fox administration. Considerable debate ensued over the prospects for meaningful structural reform in the remaining half of President Fox's term. While the experts expressed varying degrees of optimism in this regard, most agreed that Mexico simply cannot afford to wait three years for the political and economic reforms the country needs. The panel concluded that both the executive and legislative branches of government need to be held accountable for progress toward achieving these reforms.