Restoring Credibility to Mexico's Electoral Process, 2006-2012

Rachel Jackson

Following a close and highly contested 2006 presidential race, Mexico faced a crisis of credibility in the management of its elections. An opposition party threatened not to recognize the government as legitimate, citing fraud and unfair treatment by broadcast media during the campaign. Legislators in Mexico’s three largest political parties parlayed the crisis into an opportunity to address long-standing problems in the country’s electoral process. They passed a reform package that prohibited the purchase of radio and television campaign advertisements and gave political parties access to free airtime, thereby cutting into the profits of Mexico’s powerful broadcast industry. In the wake of the 2006 crisis, Leonardo Vald├ęs Zurita, president of the Instituto Federal Electoral (Federal Electoral Institute), and the institute’s General Council had to implement the legislative reforms and restore public trust in the electoral management body itself. To do so, they had to meet both the technical challenge of monitoring broadcast signals across the country and the political challenge of winning compliance from some of Mexico’s most powerful corporations.

Year of publication: 
Princeton Innovations for Successful Societies
Themes and sectors: 
Elections and politics
Case story length: 
23 pages

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