Changing party system in Mexico (1970-1988)
Gaxiola Lazcano, Ana Victoria
This research analyses how profound economic and social transformations enable political change. It argues that those transformations lead to the renegotiation of the relationship between the state and civil society. Also, it claims that the political parties are key actors in that process because they politicize those transformations through the articulation of social cleavages, which define the political space. In concrete, this research explains how the Mexican party system changed from a hegemonic to a multiparty system between 1970 to 1988. Those changes are explained by the rupture of the political cohesion that mediated the relations of the state and civil society and the development of the opposition parties as entities capable of contesting the hegemonic party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The fracturing of political cohesion resulted from the lack of consensus around the ’economy’s management and the opposition against the Mexican ’state’s authoritarian practices. The disagreement around the economy led to the articulation of a new social cleavage that divided the political space between neoliberals and nationalists, which enabled the flourishing of political pluralism and, consequently, the reconfiguration of the relationship between the state and civil society. The neoliberal stance was embraced by the National Action Party (PAN) and a faction of the PRI, whereas the nationalist position was championed by various left-wing parties and the Democratic current, a group within the PRI. The emergence of that cleavage gave the opposition the possibility to develop an alternative political project to the PRI, which allowed them to attract and mobilize supporters. However, as mentioned before, that was not the only element that permitted the transformation of the hegemonic party system into a multiparty system. Another essential component was the institutional changes fostered by the demographic growth, which enabled the opposition’s development as a political force. The data for this investigation were collected in diverse documentary sources, including official publications such as the Debates Chronicle of the Chamber of Deputies, and publications such as La Nacion, Punto Critico, Proceso, and El Nacional.