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5 December 2017

Federalism in Mexico


September 28, 1821 Mexico declared its independence from Spain after an 11-year
struggle that started on the 16th of September 1810. Once free from the Spanish
empire, Augustin de Iturbide (leader of Mexico’s independence), established the
short-lived Mexican Empire (1821-23). After the demise of the first Mexican
Empire, Generals Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and Guadalupe Victoria wrote and
signed the “Plan of Casa Mata.” This plan sought to establish a republic rather
than a monarchy, but on the 4th October, 1824 “the federal constitution of the
United Mexican States of 1824” was enacted, providing the first ground work to
create a federal republic.

             Later on, the Constitution of 1857
replaced the constitution of 1824, emphasizing individual rights by adding new
reform laws. Finally, after the Mexican Revolution the “Political Constitution
of the United Mexican States” was drafted in 1917 becoming the longest lasting
constitution (currently in force) in Mexico. This constitution helped change
Mexican political philosophy, framing its political and social aspects such as
establishing a free and secular education. As history has shown, before and
after gaining independence, Mexico has faced a series of political struggles,
shaping the two ends of its political spectrum. With conservatives seeking an
authoritarian regime, while the liberals favored a government with a populist
representative, shaping the 31 state governments within Mexico.

                  As the
United States the Mexican Constitution establishes Mexico as a federation with
a republican form of government, which includes a bicameral system (two
symmetric and incongruent House of Congress). Furthermore, executive power
within the state is vested on the governor who serves a 6-year term without
re-election. States within the federal system enjoy an independent and
autonomous internal administrations, but they aren’t entitled to declare war or
make alliances with other nations. Lastly, through each state’s constitution
they are able to establish their own Judiciary branch with the powers being
vested upon the tribunals.

                 Prior to 2000,
the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) has dominated Mexico from 1929
to 2000, creating a strong centralized political system due to a powerful
federal executive. With this in mind, the President can remove governors from
their posts through constitutional means, basically controlling the governments
of each state. Once the PRI lost the election to the PAN candidate Vicente Fox,
State governments were able to open their political spaces and were able to
participate in negotiations such as trade though legislative power from the
state’s congress. 

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