Institutional Failures of Mexican Democracy: The Electoral Regulatory System

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Godofredo VIDAL DE LA ROSA, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- Xochimilco, Mexico
Since 1994, driven by dramatic events, the creation of the regulatory institution of the electoral process was erected at the center of the democratization of Mexican Political system. This innovation represented the end of the hegemonic party and the beginning of the electoral competitive regime: 1) A distinctive feature was that the transition did not include visible mechanisms to neutralize the "authoritarian legacies" of political clientelism, and the chains of clandestine finances of political campaigns. 2)The Citizen's Council, composed of "notables", was captured by the political parties. The IFE (INE) presided over three federal electoral processes and provide the rules of fairness of the electoral process (with adjacent auditing institutions as TRIFE and Fepade), and manages extensive financial resources required to campaigning, and to register of the the electoral census. Although this institution has undergone numerous "reforms" over a quarter of a century, it has three fatal flaws since its inception, which have been slowly de-legitimized and discredited the institution: First, the absence of a mandatory (compulsory) voting system; Secondly, the electoral system introduces perverse incentives, especially the regime of prerogatives and public financing of the parties, which have degenerated into electoral processes excessively expensive, long, and nearly impossible to audit. Third, as a partial result of the second flaw, the electoral mechanism has been "captured" by the same parties that it must regulate. Because the centrality of electoral institutions in the State democratic functioning, the quality of political representation, and the overall effectiveness of the Mexican State's auditing and accountability mechanisms, is convenient a critical evaluation. This paper examines: a) the formation of electoral institutions and their transformations over a quarter of a century, b) the behavior of electoral participation, c) the establishment of a “mixed” political regime (electoral competition and authoritarian clientelism).