Impact of Sociopolitical Upheaval and Electoral Reforms on the Institutional Representation: Mexico, 1946-2009

Topics: Proportional representation, Voting system, Political party Pages: 23 (7947 words) Published: March 28, 2013
Georgia gwinnet College|
Impact of Sociopolitical Upheaval and Electoral Reforms on the Institutional Representation: Mexico, 1946-2009| Paper presented byClemente QuinonesAssistant Professor of Political ScienceGeorgia Gwinnett College1000 University Center Lane Lawrenceville, GA|

before the 70th Annual MPSA Conference, Chicago |

The aim of this paper is to analyze the impact of sociopolitical upheaval and electoral reforms on national representation via institutional representation and the number of legislative and electoral parties during the 1946-2009 period in Mexico. The assumption is that the sociopolitical upheaval and the electoral reforms had a direct impact on national representation. Institutional representation is measured by the disproportionality index proposed by Gallagher (1991). The number of parties is measured by Laakso and Taagepera’s effective number of both legislative and electoral parties. Sociopolitical upheaval is calculated by the labor strikes that happened during the period and by a social upheaval protocol that I created, which includes the most important socio-political movements of the 1940-1990s period. The electoral reforms include all the electoral law changes that significantly affected the elections in Mexico during the period. Results show that electoral reforms affect the effective number of parties significantly, but not the disproportionality index. |

During the 1950-1970s period, a wide wave of socio political movements spread out all over Mexico. From the Union Nacional Sinarquista, 1934-1951, to Juan Andreu Almazán’s political rebellion in 1940, to Ruben Jaramillo’s and Lucio Cabañas’ guerrillas in Guerrero (south of Mexico) during the 1950s and 1960s, to the democratizing movimiento ferrocarrilero (railroad workers movement) reaching national dimensions in the early 1950s, to the teachers’ and medical doctors’ movements with national implications during the first half of the 1960s (Meyer 1997; Ramirez 1969), to the urban guerrillas of the 1970s, to Navismo in San Luis Potosí in the 1990s (Aguilar-Camin and Meyer 1993; Maza 2005). Following different methods and strategies, these movements included political, social and economic demands in their agendas, such as improvement in the national minimum wage, better working conditions, and opening of the political system. The transcendental aspect is that these movements left a deep heritage of rebellion for generations to come (Aguilar-Camin and Meyer 1993: 185). By the mid 1970s the government saw the need to open up the political system to pacify this socio-political upheaval, as the then Minister of the Interior, Jesus Reyes Heroles, publically declared on April 1, 1977 in Chilpancingo: “electoral reforms are needed to widen the possibilities of political representation in such a way that the complex national ideological mosaic is included in our different representation bodies…this way, the diverse forces will be part of our democratic unity” (Paoli-Bolio 1985: 155; and Aziz-Nassif 1984: 173). The aim of this paper is to see the extent to which this sociopolitical upheaval and electoral reforms (especially electoral systems) affected the national representation via institutional representation and the number of parties in both the electorate and the national Lower House during the 1946-2009 period in Mexico. My assumption is that the sociopolitical upheaval and the electoral reforms had a direct impact on both the national institutional representation and the number of legislative and electoral parties. To properly measure the relative impact of these two variables, I will also include some demographic factors as control variables. Institutional representation is measured by the disproportionality index proposed by Gallagher (1991). Sociopolitical upheaval is measured by the labor strikes that happened during the period and by a...

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