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Mexico’s 2012 Elections: The Return of the PRI

From: Journal of Democracy
Volume 24, Number 1, January 2013
pp. 128-141 | 10.1353/jod.2013.0006



With Mexico seeming poised for a change election in 2012, why did it vote in a regime that ruled the country for much of the 20th century? Is the new PRI different from the old PRI? What are the implications of the PRI’s return for Mexico’s democracy? This article argues that several institutions on which the old regime was based remained intact after the transition, which made the return of the PRI almost inevitable. It suggests that the PRI's return is a mixed blessing for Mexican democracy. On the one hand, the peaceful turnover of power among all parties is a welcome sign that democracy is maturing. Political parties should have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes—a sign that electoral accountability may be working. On the other hand, however, the return of the PRI is likely to reinvigorate several features of the old regime that remained unscathed by the country’s democratic transition, potentially representing a setback for Mexico's young democracy.