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MEXICO: Election monitoring

Alberto Diaz Cayeros discusses Mexico's cleaner elections: "The "heroic" role of the IFE in the demise of Mexico's PRI and the emergence of clean elections is overrated. It is a political compromise, not the prestige or moral superiority of IFE councilmen, that explains Mexico's clean elections. PRI politicians were willing to allow for an independent federal electoral board only once they realized they were no longer getting away with their fraudulent practices of the past. Put in other words, the independent IFE is a consequence of the process of democratization, not a cause.

As to the contrast between Mexico's organization of elections and the US, the crucial difference emerged in 1942, not with the IFE. In that year the national PRI was able to wrest control of election processes from local authorities, centralizing the system. That gave the PRI centralized monitoring and control of electoral processes. For local elites, it often meant that they would avoid post electoral violence, which was very common until then. This arrangement was not a good thing for democracy, nor was it conducive to vibrant federalism".

Ronald Hilton - 11/8/02