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MEXICO:. Government Institutions. By: Landon Fuller, Megan Hester, Tyler Davis. Mexico’s Constitution sets up a democratic system of government with three branches and a series of checks and balances, resembling the government set in place by the United States constitution.

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government institutions




Landon Fuller, Megan Hester, Tyler Davis


Mexico’s Constitution sets up a democratic system of government with three branches and a series of checks and balances, resembling the government set in place by the United States constitution.

  • However unlike the U.S. Mexico’s constitution isn’t strictly followed
the executive

The president is both the head of state and the head of government

  • He is elected in a national popular election
  • The president serves for a sexenio- a non- renewable six-year term
  • During his term he has the majority of the power and is virtually the dictator
  • The president is usually a part of the PRI party, and each president choses his successor, which has historically been the president who wins the next election
The Executive
powers of the executive

Manages a vast patronage machine for filling government positions

Initiates legislation and policies that were, until recently, routinely approved by the congress


  • Initiates legislation
  • Leads in creation of foreign policy
  • Create government agencies
  • Can make policy by decree or through administrative regulations and procedures
Powers of the Executive
recent presidents

Current President Nieto

  • Current President- Enrique Pena Nieto was inaugurated on December 1st 2012, he is a member of the PRI party
  • Felipe Calderón 2006-2012
  • Vicente Fox 2000-2006
    • Both Fox and Calderón were part of the PAN party, a very unusual choice by the Mexican people
  • Ernesto Zedillio 1994-2000 a member of the PRI party, he refused to name his successor
Recent Presidents
the bureaucracy

Employs almost 1 ½ million people

  • They staff schools, state-owned industries, and semi-autonomous agencies, and fill positions in state and local governments
  • Officials are paid very little, but at high and middle levels they have lots of power
The Bureaucracy
bureaucracy continued

Under PRI control there is a lot of patron-clientalism and bribery, as well as using insider information to promote business deals

  • Para-statalsector- made up of semiautonomous or autonomous government agencies
  • Under the PRI the para-statalsector was huge, it began to be trimmed back after by economic reforms that began in the 1980’s
Bureaucracy continued
legislature then

During one-party rule the legislative branch was primarily a rubber stamp to executive initiatives.

  • Because the President could get his own party elected though corrupt elections politicians owed their allegiance to the President allowing him to rule unopposed.
Legislature Then
legislature then1

Also, legislatures in both houses could only serve one consecutive term. If they wanted to continue in politics the fate of their entry into the executive branch was determined by the President. More reason to keep him happy.

Legislature Then
legislature now
Legislature Now

Thanks to democratization in the 1980’s the legislature is no longer controlled by the Executive branch

legislature upper house

Upper House: Senate

    • Cámara de Senadores
  • 128 Members
    • 3 Senators from each of the 31 states and Federal District of Mexico City (92 total)
    • The remainder elected by proportional representation (32 total)
  • In theory the house is supposed to initiate legislation but 90% of the time the Executive branch initiates and the houses approve
  • Serve 6 year terms (cannot serve consecutive terms)
  • Foreign policy
  • Approves presidential appointments
  • Approves international agreements
Legislature (Upper House)
legislature lower house

Lower House: Chamber of Deputies

    • Cámara de Diputados
  • 500 Members
    • 200 who are elected by proportional representation
    • 300 who are elected from single member districts
    • No party may have more than 300 seats
  • Serve for 3 years (cannot serve consecutive terms)
  • Tends to matters concerning the budget and public expenditures
Legislature (Lower House)
in the case of impeachment
In the case of Impeachment

Senate acts as jury while the Chamber of Deputies has the power to prosecute


No independent judiciary

  • No judicial review
  • Code law
  • Constitution of 1917 does not have a high level of legitimacy and can be easily amended.
  • Most laws are federal, so state courts play only a small role.

Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) tried to strengthen the courts by emphasizing rule of law.

  • There is more dependence on courts to fight corruption, drugs, and police abuse, as well as protect basic freedoms.
  • The record of a proceeding is not available to the public.
  • Courts are viewed as corrupt.
supreme court

Highest federal court

  • Power to strike down laws as unconstitutional
  • May declare a law unconstitutional when 1/3 of the National Congress, 1/3 of a state congress, or the Attorney General asks the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of a law.
  • Judges are appointed for life, however they usually resign after each sexenio.
Supreme Court

Supposed to have Judicial Review, but the Supreme Court almost never overrules an important action or policy

  • Controlled primarily by the Executive Branch
judiciary corruption

Judiciary power is limited by the perception that courts are corrupt.

  • Judges are afraid to rule against gang leaders and are often bribed.
  • Federal and state courts are now required to conduct oral trials to improve the gathering and presenting of evidence.
Judiciary Corruption

Military generals dominated Mexican politics in the 1800s-early 1900s.

  • The PRI dramatically reduced the military’s power in the 1940s.
military corruption

Patron-client system exists between presidents and military officers.

  • Deals between military officers and drug barons occur.
  • The U.N. reports the military has been involved in an increasing number of disappearance cases.
  • The military is still positively regarded by the people.
Military Corruption