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Presentation on theme: "DEMOCRATIC TRANSITIONS IN MEXICO AND URUGUAY 3/3/2010."— Presentation transcript:


2 Mexico: Breakdown of the Old Regime The PRI System Managed elections The party serves to share power between the revolutionary factions without the destructive rivalries that elections fostered The party incorporates the mobilized peasantry through corporatist structures (state-mediated relations between business and workers) and land reform Presidential nomination of successor

3 Mexico: Breakdown of the Old Regime Why does the system fail? Economic crisis of the 1980s Rising levels of education and wealth Rising levels of mobilization and democratic expectations Democratic transition in Mexico has been about transforming (v. building or restoring) institutions to make them function democratically

4 Mexico: Transitional Democracy The 1988 – 2000 Period: Elections take on a genuine character 1988: the election of Carlos Salinas (PRI), the defeat of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, and the rise of the PRD and the PAN 1994: the election of Ernesto Zedillo (PRI) 2000: the election of Vicente Fox (PAN) IS THIS THE MOMENT OF CONSOLIDATION?

5 Mexico: Questionable Consolidation The 2006 Presidential Election Was the election free and fair? Was the government neutral? Were the actors abiding by the rules of the game? Did the candidates/parties respect the voters? Were civil liberties and human rights respected? Was the media free and fair?

6 Mexico: Continuing Challenges to Consolidation Underdeveloped democratic institutions are vulnerable to manipulation Failure to internalize democratic principles Tenuous rule of law Poverty, inequality, and slow economic growth Challenges to the legitimacy of the current administration

7 Uruguay: Structures of Government Constitutional Democracy Federal System Central Government Executive: President (5 yr term, plurality with majority runoff) Legislature: General Assembly Chamber of Deputies (99 seats, 5 yr terms, proportional representation by district) Chamber of Senators (31 seats, 5 yr terms, proportional representation) Judicial: Supreme Court 19 departments

8 Uruguay: Breakdown of the Old Regime : Period of military dictatorship 1980: first constitutional referendum (57.2% against) 1984: growing political and economic unrest leads to mass protests 1985: Tupamaros renounce violence and join the regular political process 1986: Law of Nullity (applies to both sides)

9 Uruguay: Transitional Democracy The party system after the transition from authoritarianism was largely a continuation of that which had existed in prior periods of electoral competition Major Parties Frente Amplio (Broad Front; leftist, social democratic to socialist) Partido Colorado (Colorado Party; left, liberal to social democratic) Partido Nacional, aka Partido Blanco (National Party; right, liberal conservative)

10 Uruguay: Consolidation Effectiveness 51% of Uruguayans have a good opinion of public institutions (highest in Latin America) 48% are highly satisfied with state services (highest in Latin America by more than 10%) Perceptions of public sector corruption (45%) and politicians corruption (27%) are the lowest in Latin America Cleavages Uruguay is characterized by homogeneity Accountability Alternation in power Reliance on referendum and plebicites Perception of judicial independence is the highest in Latin America

11 Uruguay: Consolidation Participation 19% of people take part in authorized political demonstrations, the 2 nd highest in Latin America The majority think that protests are normal and indispensible Support for Democracy 66% think that voting is the best way to achieve change I wouldnt mind a non-democratic government in power if it could resolve economic problems. Uruguay: 31% yes Lat American average: 53% yes In general, would you say that the country is governed for the benefit of a few powerful groups? Uruguay: 40% yes Lat American average: 70% yes

12 Uruguay: Consolidation Statistical Indicators GDP: $31.3 billion USD (2008) Debt /GDP: 57% (2008) (interest payments alone were 2.5% of GDP in 2006) Inflation: 9.2% (2008) Unemployment: 7.6% (2008) Wealth and Poverty HDI for Uruguay is 0.852, which gives the country a rank of 46 th out of 177 countries with data (2008) Income Distribution GINI index: 44.9 (2008) (high overall but the 2 nd most egalitarian in Latin America) Public sector spending Welfare Universal free healthcare Free k-12 education (though only primary school is compulsory and drop-out is common) Public sector employment

13 Questions What is democracy? Is democracy a good thing? Why or why not? At what stage in transition to democracy is Mexico today? Uruguay? A NOTE on policy papers: Do not try to "solve" democracy in your country. Instead pick one aspect of the democratic system where you perceive a significant flaw and then propose specific policies to address that problem. KEEP IT SMALL!


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