Only a decade ago, Mexico saw the end of seventy years of single-party hegemonic rule and the first free and fair election in its history. How has the country evolved since then, and what is the status of its democracy today? In this comprehensive new collection intended for use in undergraduate courses a group of distinguished scholars examines recent political developments in Mexico—including its 2006 election and the breakdown in consensus that nearly resulted—in order to assess the progress of its democratization. Focusing on transformations in Mexico’s evolving political party system, institutions in transition, and the changing nature of state-society relations, contributors to this book discuss the challenges that Mexican democracy faces today as well as the potential it has for further change in the near future.

Andrew Selee is Director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center and an adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. Jacqueline Peschard is a Citizen Counselor of Mexico’s Federal Institute for Access to Information.


List of Tables and Figures

José Woldenberg

1. Mexico’s Democratic Challenges
Andrew Selee and Jacqueline Peschard

Part I: The Evolving Political System
2. Citizens’ Values and Beliefs toward Politics: Is Democracy Growing Attitudinal Roots?
Alejandro Moreno
3. The Restructuring of the Party System in the Wake of the 2006 Elections
Jean-François Prud’homme
4. Federal and Local Electoral Institutions: From a National to a Fragmented System
Jacqueline Peschard
5. The 2006 Elections: Democratization and Social Protest
John M. Ackerman

Part II: Institutions in Transition?
6. Executive-Legislative Relations: Continuity or Change?
María Amparo Casar
7. Transparency Reforms: Theory and Practice
Jonathan Fox and Libby Haight
8. Reforming Civil-Military Relations during Democratization
Raúl Benítez Manaut
9. Federalism and the Reform of Political Power
Tonatiuh Guillén López
10. The Justice System, 2000–2007
José Ramón Cossío Díaz

Part III: The Changing Nature of State-Society Relations
11. Taming the Diaspora: Migrants and the State, 1986–2006
David R. Ayón
12. Struggle and Resistance: The Nation’s Indians in Transition
Rodolfo Stavenhagen
13 The Role of Civil Society
Mariclaire Acosta
14. Churches, Believers, and Democracy
Roberto Blancarte
15. Democratic Antipoetry
Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez


“Selee and Peschard’s interesting and thoughtful Mexico’s Democratic Challenges contains several chapters about ‘institutions in transition’. The overall picture that emerges is that of a multiplocation of political and institutional actors, an ‘autonomization’ of their role and influence, and hence of increasing political and administrative complexity, sometimes bordering on new forms of fragmentation, instability and insecurity, not particularly conducive to improving the quality of democracy.”—Wil Pansters, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

“This is a very important book that fills a gap in our knowledge regarding recent political change in Mexico, particularly with regard to the 2006 presidential elections and their aftermath. It broadens our understanding of democracy in Mexico beyond the electoral arena and identifies some of the main challenges for defending and expanding democratic rights.”—Neil Harvey, New Mexico State University

“The value of this edited collection is that it brings the reader up to date on the numerous political and institutional reforms that have occurred since Mexico’s formal transition to democracy in 2000. As such, it offers the longest view yet on the underpinnings of this country’s democratization process.”—Carol Wise, University of Southern California