Mexico’s Government. Governance & Policy-Making Section 3 Mr. Saliani. Mexico’s Recent History. Mexico is a federal republic. Historically state and local governments had few resources compared with the national level.
Mexico’s Government Governance & Policy-Making Section 3 Mr. Saliani
Mexico’s Recent History • Mexico is a federal republic. • Historically state and local governments had few resources compared with the national level. • The PRI dominated Mexican politics for the majority of the 20th century. • Currently, a multiparty system seems to be reinvigorating Mexico’s democracy and there appears to be change occurring. • Efforts have been made to reinvigorate the nation’s laws and institutions → more democratic
Organization of the State • According to the Constitution of 1917 (supreme law of the land), Mexico’s political institutions resemble the U.S. • Three branches of government (checks and balances) • Congress is composed of the Senate (upper house) and the chamber of Deputies (lower house) • Senate - 128 members, 3 from each state & 32 by nationally by proportional representation • Deputies - 500 members, 300 by simple majority vote and 200 by proportional representation
Org. of State (continued) • State and local governments are elected. • The president, senators, and governors are elected for six years • The deputies and municipal officials are elected for three years.
Mexican Constitution • Easily amended when compared to the U.S. • Contains government structure • Guarantees a wide range of human rights • Includes economic and social rights such as right to a job and health care (effective?) • Overall Mexico’s government is very centralized and the president remains the key figure in initiating policy and managing political conflict
The Executive (Background) • The presidency is the central institution of governance and policy-making in Mexico • President (PRI times) used to name next presidential candidate, appoint officials to all positions of power in the govt. & party, and named candidates in legislative and local elections that automatically won • Until mid-1970’s were considered above criticism in national politics /revered as symbols of progress
The Powers of the President Formal Powers • Initiate legislation • Lead in foreign policy • Create government agencies • Make policy by decree or through administrative regulations and procedures • Appoint a wide range of public officials Informal Powers • Manages vast patronage machine for filling in positions in government • Initiates legislation & policies that were, until recently approved by the congress
The Path to the Presidency • Under PRI – presidents were males who had served in the cabinet • Between 1946-1976, 4/5 presidents had been ministers of the interior (in charge of law & order) • José López Portillo (1976-1982) –Minister of Finance • Miguel de la Madrid (1982-1988) & Carlos Salinas (1988-1994) – Ministers of Planning & Budgeting • Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) – Minister of Education • Vicente Fox (2000-2006) – Governor of Guanajuato • Felipe Calderón (2006-pres.) – Minister of Energy http://www.presidencia.gob.mx/en/felipecalderon/ • Políticos (politicians) vs. Técnicos (technocrats)
The Cabinet • http://www.presidencia.gob.mx/en/cabinet/ • Once elected the president names the cabinet • Extensive turnover is normal • President can make appointments to create a team-like environment (ensure loyalty)
The Bureaucracy • Almost 1.5 million people work in the federal bureaucracy • An additional 1 million work for the large number of state-owned industries & semiautonomous agencies of the government • State & local governments employ over 1.5 million people • Officials in lower levels of the bureaucracy are unionized and protected by legislation that gives them job security and benefits • Middle and upper level officials are called “confidence employees” (Why?) • Incentives: Challenging and fulfilling jobs / bribery / promote personal interests
The Para-Statal Sector (State-Owned or State-Controlled Corporations) • Extremely large and powerful in Mexico • Under Salinas the largest steel mill was state-owned, as were the largest fertilizer producer, sugar mills, and airlines. • PEMEX – grew during oil boom http://www.pemex.com/ • NAFIN – a state investment corporation http://www.nafin.com/portalnf/ • CONASUPO – a state marketing board (food supplies) http://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/worlde/v26y2003i1p97-122.html Para-statals by the numbers - 391 (1970), 1155 (1980), privatization followed and by 1994 they numbered 215 There are efforts to reduce them further…even PEMEX though that will be difficult due to its symbolism as “national patrimony” and opposition (U.S. -Social Security privatization efforts that failed)
The Military • Mostly marginalized from center of political power (a rarity in developing world) • Has dealt with domestic unrest several times (recently to combat drug trafficking) • Scandals have affected reputation (drug connection and accusations of mistreatment) • Played role by observing peaceful transfer of power from PRI to PAN (good sign for future)
The Judiciary • Mexico’s law derives from Roman & Napoleonic tradition (highly formal & explicit) • Lack of punitive damages has curtailed lawsuits • Amparo – citizens may ask for a writ of protection; claiming their constitutional rights have been violated by government actions or laws (which has led to friction has existed between the executive & judiciary) Two levels of judiciary • Federal System – composed of Supreme Court – highest court of appeal (11 members) & district courts (federal laws are superior) • State System – though subordinate has grown in stature
Subnational Government • Regional & local government has limited power and lack of funding • Lack of well-trained and well-paid public officials • Jobs are distributed through political patronage • Some municipalities have shown greater abilities (i.e. – Nuevo Leon) is it due to $? • Until 1988, all governors were from the PRI • By late 2005, 13 states and the Fed District were governed by other parties (Local issues are hot!)
The Policy-Making Process • Executive is key – sexenio allows for a timeframe for policies to take hold • Bureaucracy plays a major role in policy making • Congress has become more active (legislation) • Role of media – public influence • President’s policies can face scrutiny, impediments, and even resistance • Blame Game?