Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


International Influences in the Mexican (Failed and Successful) Transition to Democracy

Working Paper

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros - University of California, San Diego
Beatriz Magaloni - Stanford University

Issued by
CDDRL Working Papers, March 2009

Until the year 2000, Mexico was ruled by one of the most long lasting autocratic regimes of the 20th century. The system was established in 1929, when the predecessor of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) became the sole means for achieving high office in Mexico. The peculiarity of the system, compared to other Latin American nations, was that Mexico never succumbed to military rule and always kept running regular elections (sometimes even competitive ones) throughout the period of autocratic rule. This made the Mexican transition to democracy rather unusual, in that it occurred primarily within the electoral arena (Magaloni, 2006). The domestic thrust of the transition only allowed very marginal influences to international actors. Thus we must say from the outset that the democratization we study in this paper was essentially "Made in Mexico".