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Mexico Index
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Constitutional Background

Under the 1917 Constitution, Mexico is a federal republic with separation of powers. The bicameral Congress comprises the Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. The President has sweeping governmental powers in nearly all fields. Until the 1988 elections, politics was dominated by the PRI for half a century. The PRI was accused of heavy-handed electoral fraud in local elections. The constitution forbids a second consecutive term for any elected official. This has the unwanted side effect that officials are not accountable to the voters and try to use their office for personal advantage while they have it.

History and News

  • 2 July 2000: Vicente Fox Quesada (AC-PAN) wins in presidential elections.
  • July 1997: Mid-term congressional elections. The PRI goes into opposition with only 239 of 500 seats in the lower house.
  • 5 Aug 1996: Electoral reform, involving 18 changes in the constitution, will give the final review (formerly with the local tribunals) to the federal judiciary. 
  • 16 Feb 1996: Government signs peace pact with Zapatist rebels, covering indigenous rights but leaving the issues of agriculture, justice, and democracy open. 
  • 28 June 1995: Human Rights Watch America issues a scathing report on absuses of human rights during the fight against Zapatist rebels in Chiapas. 
  • Feb 1995: President Zedillo breaks a cease-fire and sends troups into Chiapas. 
  • Feb 1995: Ex-President Carlos Salinas's brother Raul is arrested on accusation of master-minding the murder of Jose Francisco Ruiz. 
  • 1994: Presidential elections are won by Ernest Zedillo (PRI), an accidental candidate who only got nominated after the first choice was murdered. 
  • July 1988: Presidential elections reinforce the opposition against the de facto one-party system of PRI which narrowly gets its candidate Carlos Salinas elected. 
  • 1982: Beginning of an economic crisis. 
  • 1917: Constitution adopted.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 18th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.