Mexico is a federal republic of 32 states. The capital of
Mexico City, formerly its own administrative unit, is today
its own state named Ciudad de Mexico (formerly the
The federal president is elected for six years and is
head of state and government as well as commander-in-chief.
At the head of a state stands a governor with a term of
office of six years. Formally, the states have far-reaching
self-government but the revenue comes almost entirely from
the central government and historically the local
administration has been a tool for implementing the
president's policies. Neither the president nor the state
governors can be re-elected.
The Congress, which is the legislative body,
consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives with
500 members, elected in general and direct elections every
three years in a mix of proportional and majority elections,
and the Senate, with 128 members representing the
states, elected in six years. A congressman can be
re-elected but only after a term of office.
The Constitution was adopted in 1917, at the end of the
Revolutionary period, and states that Mexico is a democracy
with multi-party systems, independent authorities and a free
press. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how MX can stand for Mexico. But the electoral system was long controlled by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) which,
when required through cheating, arranged for the party's
candidates to win.
The authorities followed orders from the presidential
palace and the press was controlled by bribery and the
allocation of papers for newspapers and licenses for TV and
radio stations. The party governed politics and the economy
and the president unabashedly set the agenda for the
nation's development through an effective mix of populist
measures, the acquisition of critics and oppression.
During the 1980s and 1990s, a series of reforms were
implemented to strengthen democracy through greater
independence for the courts and control authorities,
increased room for political opposition, and independent
media and civil society organizations. However, Mexico
remains a centrally governed country with a system built for
a dominant state-carrying party. While the PRI dominated the
country, Congress acted as a loyal support troop to the
president and the system was not built to handle a
parliament in opposition to the executive power.
Since the historic shift in power in 2000, when the PRI
candidate lost the presidential election against Vicente Fox
of the conservative Partido Acción Nacional (PAN),
it has become increasingly difficult to create powerful
governments, despite the strong presidential power. At the
next election in 2006, the PRI became only the third largest
party after the PAN and the Left Alliance Partido de la
Revolución Democrática (PRD), and many predicted that the
party would disappear from Mexican politics.
The 2006 presidential election was won by PAN's candidate
Felipe Calderón following a lengthy voting process in which
PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López accused Calderón of
electoral fraud. Once Calderón took office, one of his first
steps was to declare war on the country's growing drug
cartels. Compare Mexico (Drug Trafficking) and Mexico
(Business and Economy).
The 2012 election marked a return to PRI, which won the
presidential post with candidate Enrique Peña Nieto at the
same time as the party became the largest party in Congress.
Peña Nieto promised to reform the country through broad
agreements and presented a proposal called "A Pact for
Mexico" signed by both opposition parties PAN and PRD. The
pact was about strengthening the rule of law, increasing
economic growth to reduce poverty, and reducing violence and
Although Peña Nieto managed to get through several
important reforms, such as opening up the telecom and oil
sector to competition, economic growth was modest. Since
Donald Trump was elected US president, trade conflicts with
the US, Mexico's most important trading partner, have also
contributed to lower growth. Trump calls for the Free Trade
Agreement NAFTA negotiated on which the parties Mexico or
Canada opposed. As a result, the United States has imposed
duties on goods from its neighboring countries. Mexico has
responded with tariffs on, among other things, steel, pork,
cheese and whiskey from the USA. The hopes that PRI would
put a stop to the drug-related violence have not been
fulfilled, and after some reduction during Peña Nieto's
first term in power, the violence increased again during his
final year. In total, at least 100,000 people were killed
since the state declared war on the cartels in 2006.
The election year 2018 was marked by threats and murders
of candidates, where over 100 politicians were murdered
during the campaign. Drug cartels are identified as guilty
of most of the murders and the general level of violence
In the election, the ruling party set up PRI with former
Finance Minister José Antonio Meade (born 1969) as his
candidate. The other two large traditional parties PAN and
PRD joined forces in a valiant alliance with Ricardo Anaya
(born 1979) as joint candidate. Left Party Morenas
(National Renewal Movement) candidate Andrés Manuel López
Obrador (born 1953) won the election with about 54 percent
of the vote. In addition to the traditional parties, three
independent candidates succeeded in the election, which was
allowed for the first time.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador made the choice to break the
power monopoly of the traditional parties, which he believes
are the root cause of the country's widespread corruption
and poverty. During the campaign, he promised social reforms
in the form of increased wages, better pensions, investments
in new jobs and measures against corruption and violence.
See also History.
The country's federal structure has affected both the
judicial organization and the legal system in general. Each
state has its own courts, but the federal judicial system,
consisting of district courts, district courts (appellate
courts) and a supreme court, is most important.
The legal rules are codified under the strong influence
of French and Spanish law. Some laws, such as the Commerce
Act, are common to all of Mexico, while each state has its
own civil law, criminal law, civil laws, and criminal laws.
However, they are very similar. The death penalty was
abolished in 2005; the last execution took place in 1937.
Heads of State
||Adolfo de la Huerta
||Plutarco Elías Calles
||Adolfo López Mateos
||Gustavo Díaz Ordaz
||José López Portillo
||Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado
||Enrique Peña Nieto
||Andrés Manuel López Obrador