|Mexico´s President Enrique Peña Nieto|
Late last month, Mexico’s opposition insisted on electoral reforms before it would support the ruling party’s efforts at energy reform. In an email interview, John Ackerman, a professor at the Institute of Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), explained the need for and obstacles to electoral reform in Mexico.
WPR: What did the conduct of Mexico's most recent elections indicate about the need for the electoral reform?
John Ackerman: The last two presidential elections, in 2006 and 2012, demonstrated that Mexico is far from establishing a trustworthy institutional democracy. During both elections, there were widespread accusations of fraud, and the electoral authorities behaved in a partial manner by covering up irregularities. In 2006, authorities turned a blind eye to gross violations of the electoral code, refused to conduct a full recount and even denied citizen access to the ballots after the election. In 2012, extreme cases of media bias, vote-buying and overspending by the winning candidate went almost without notice by the authorities.
Citizen confidence in public institutions and the political class therefore has reached a historic low. Many Mexicans wonder whether a “democratic transition” has even occurred at all. The Mexican authoritarian system historically held periodic, supposedly “free and fair” elections, which were in fact rigged beforehand. The widespread impression is that this “electoral authoritarianism,” or “perfect dictatorship,” as the writer Mario Vargas Llosa described it, continues to today...
FULL INTERVIEW AVAILABLE AT WORLD POLITICS REVIEW