Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Mexico: The new old guard

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on September 6, 2010

by The Economist, September 2nd, 2010.

How ten years in power have changed the former opposition leaders.

Skulking around Morelia after dark, a 17-year-old Agustín Torres would wait until midnight before sticking up posters for the National Action Party (PAN). Any earlier, and he risked being photographed by authorities monitoring subversives in the western city. “I wanted to be against the system, so I joined the PAN,” says Mr Torres, now 33 and a congressman.

These days, the PAN is part of the system. After 61 years in opposition, it wrested the presidency from the hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2000 and held it in 2006. Its strengths reflect its legacy as the protagonist of Mexico’s transition to multi-party democracy. Unlike the big-tent PRI, the conservative PAN knows what it stands for. “Whereas the PRI is driven by power, the PAN tends to be driven by ideology,” says Luis Rubio, the head of CIDAC, a think-tank. And unlike the fractious Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), its leftist counterpart, the PAN runs a slick operation. It even boasts an international reach, winning 57% of the expatriate vote in 2006. (continue reading… )

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