Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mexico's presidential election

Fresh face, same old party

The party that held power for seven decades is poised to take back the presidency. Is Mexico ready?

WITH its roving vendors of pork-scratchings and its stucco and ochre cathedral, Atlacomulco looks like a typical Mexican town. Its politics follow the traditional Mexican model too: plaques commemorate the good works of former governors, who all belonged to the same party and in some cases share the same surname. The newest notices hail the achievements of Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured), who completed his term as governor of Mexico state last year, the fifth man from his extended family to do so.
For seven decades this was the story of Mexico. Power remained within the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and within what its founder, Plutarco Elías Calles, called the “revolutionary family”. Less blood was spilled on the road to democracy than in many Latin American countries, but it was a longer slog. Until 1989 the PRI ran all of the country's 31 states. It was another eight years before it gave up its majority in Congress. Only in 2000 was it finally prised out of Los Pinos, Mexico's presidential residence.
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