Mexico's Role in Contemporary Politics

Mexico’s rise as a powerful nation has been one of the most recent contemporary phenomenon in comparative politics. As a newly industrialized country, Mexico has the eleventh largest economy in the world by GDP purchasing power parity. The year of 2000 marked the first time that an opposition political party won the presidential seat from the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Breaking this almost century long rule, has allowed Mexico to become more progressive in international trade as well as diplomatic relations with other countries. Still, Mexico faces severe problems with its police corruption, border control issues and deadly drug trafficking.
The past 20 years have brought profound changes to the Mexican political system. Once an authoritarian regime controlled by the dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, Mexico is now an emerging democracy in which political parties compete in open elections and voters understand that electoral results are anything but preordained. The presidential domination of the past has given way to a more even distribution of power among branches and levels of government. But Mexico's evolution toward democracy has been anything but linear and straightforward. Indeed, it has progressed in fits and starts over a 30-year period, and although many claimed that PAN candidate Vicente Fox's victory in the 2000 presidential election was the culmination of the democratic transition, it is clear four years later that the Mexican political system will require more time and more changes to become a full-fledged democracy.
The challenges that are marring Mexico’s emerging democracy include police corruption, border control issues and drug trafficking. In November of 2008, Mexico averaged 23 deaths a day from "crime and terror" incidents. Estimates for the total number killed from January through November 2008 run from 4,900 to 5,100. Many political and economic thinkers agree that the drug industry is the root of Mexico’s problems,...