Volume XXXVIII – Number 1

Jon Semion Stefanuca

Abstract: The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was Mexico’s only ruling party for much of the 20th century, but towards the end of the century the party began losing its monopoly over political power. The PRI came to power after the civil war and it provided stability to the country by establishing a corporatist system of governance and socialist policies to exert control over every sector of the society. Today the PRI faces stiff competition from other political parties such as National Action Party (PAN) and Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) due to electoral reforms implemented in late 20th century. While there are many reasons for the party’s demise, including a widening ideological gap within the party and the PRI’s “extra-constitutional” activities, this paper focuses on the Party’s economic reforms which stagnated the Mexican economy and led to the emergence of new political alternatives. In particular, Mexico’s two main elites, the private import-competing elite and the statist elite, used to compete for government protection under the PRI’s rule. In the 1980s, after experiencing economic shocks, the government started favoring the statist elite at the expense of the private elite, who responded by promoting liberal economic reforms. This conflict led to divisions within the PRI, and in the late 1980s, those who opposed the economic reforms formed the PRD. Thus, as conflict within the party grew and the economic interests of the elites clashed, the demise of the PRI became inevitable. 

Keywords: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), National Action Party (PAN), Economic Reform, Electoral Reform, Mexico

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