Political Stability and Democracy in Mexico: The "Perfect Dictatorship"?

By Dan A. Cothran | Go to book overview

the regular presidential succession to present the new president as a leader who would respond to problems in a fresh and energetic way. Salinas moved dynamically against some of the most notorious examples of corruption, established an important new social program funded in large part by huge sums of money raised from the sale of state firms, liberalized the economy considerably, and negotiated a free trade pact with the United States. The economy began to grow again after several sluggish years. The Salinas government also liberalized politics somewhat, by enacting a new electoral law that provided for a new electoral roll and new electoral identity cards. The president also overturned some state and local elections when evidence of fraud and opposition protests were overwhelming. The regime also took advantage of the fact that, as weakened as it was after 1988, it still had the capacity to mobilize voters and even to use electoral "alchemy" where necessary to stay in power.

Whether the regime could maintain social peace with this degree of "problem management" was, however, open to question. As skillful as Salinas and his associates had been in their first four years, it was not inevitable that this would be enough. The conditions in which the traditional factors operated had changed dramatically by the 1990s, and it was possible that the very factors that had allowed one party to remain in power for six decades would now threaten that hegemony. The next chapter will examine the altered conditions of the 1990s and ask what the prospects are for political stability and democracy in Mexico.


NOTES
1
Robert A. Pastor, "Post-Revolutionary Mexico: The Salinas Opening", Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 32 ( 3), 1990, p. 4.
2
Franz A. von Sauer, "Measuring Legitimacy in Mexico: An Analysis of Public Opinion during the 1988 Presidential Campaign", in Mexican Studies 8 ( 2), 1992, p. 277.
3
Pastor, Post-Revolutionary Mexico," p. 4.
4
Stephen D. Morris, "Political Reformism in Mexico: Salinas at the Brink", Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 34 ( 1), 1992, pp. 31-40; John Bailey , Populism and Regime Liberalization: Mexico in Comparative Perspective ( Paper Presented at Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 18-20, 1991), pp. 14-21.
5
Morris, Political Reformism," pp. 32-34.
7
Press Office of the Government of Mexico, Mexico on the Record ( Washington, D.C.: Embassy of Mexico, 1992), vol. 1 ( 9), pp. 2-3. In fact, this publication itself was part of the Salinas offensive to improve the image of the Mexican regime.
8
Von Sauer, Measuring Legitimacy, p. 269.
9
Bailey, Populism," pp. 1-22; Morris, Political Reformism," p. 39.
10
Bailey, Populism," pp. 19-20; Ambler H. Moss Jr., "A Democratic Party Approach to Latin America", Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 34

-205-

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Political Stability and Democracy in Mexico: The "Perfect Dictatorship"?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Mexican Political Stability 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - The Institutionalization of the Mexican State 17
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - Economic Growth and Political Support 57
  • Notes 85
  • 4 - Adaptability and the Crises of 1968-1978 89
  • Notes 126
  • 5 - Elite Unity and Political Stability 131
  • Notes 173
  • 6 - Carlos Salinas and the Revolutionary Regime 177
  • Notes 205
  • 7 - Prospects for Stability and Democracy in Mexico 209
  • Notes 233
  • Selected Bibliography 237
  • Index 245
  • About the Author *
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