Lessons from Mexico

Viscount (Jack) Hastings, The Worker of the Future, 1935. Marx Memorial Library, London


Large urban centers, public universities, state-owned companies and, in the Mexican case, the strong physical and cultural presence of indigenous peoples, have placed these countries at the forefront of political experiences in Latin America.


The recent Mexican elections, for the country's Executive and Legislative branches, did not gain greater prominence in the Brazilian media. The registration of the fact, pointing out numbers and recognizing the victory of the candidate of President Lopez Obrador and the Front led by her party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) was what predominated in the Brazilian press.

Despite Mercosur, the growth of economic relations, and attempts to consolidate institutions of political and cultural integration, we continue to be unaware of our neighbors and their historical experiences. Mainly due to the alienating and targeted coverage of the major national media specialized in bringing us scandals, personalities, catastrophes and very little knowledge about the historical process and the behavior of its people, their social classes.

Mexico is part of Latin America, it experienced European colonial rule with us and, as the Mexicans say, it has always lived “so far from God and so close to the United States”. It even invaded large areas of its territory throughout the 19th century, always exerted a strong influence on its neighbors and in the era of Globalization made Mexico one of the examples of the “maquiladora” industry.

Despite this, today, it constitutes the second economy in Latin America, with a population of 130 million inhabitants and with periods of growth based on economic nationalism with a strong presence of the State, especially in oil, and of a reformist character compared to post-oligarchic states. -independence. It experienced a profound revolutionary process at the beginning of the 30th century of a popular and peasant nature that guaranteed significant changes in the country's land structure. Cardenism (Lázaro Cárdenas' government) in the XNUMXs is very similar to the periods experienced by Vargas in Brazil and Perón in Argentina.

In these countries, these periods of economic growth and strong urbanization led to political transformations with growing popular participation in public life. Large urban centers, public universities, state-owned companies and, in the Mexican case, the strong physical and cultural presence of original peoples, have placed these countries at the forefront of political experiences in Latin America.

In these elections, now, the lessons of the Mexican experience are important and necessary to be observed as they reveal how electoral systems can have an important weight in democratic processes. They clearly show that the electoral system requires strong parties that are identified by their program, their government practices, their history and social representation, without which the electoral processes become a mere counting of votes, the winners are determined , and “blot and new account”.


The Mexican electoral system is based on party voting, party voting and party coalition voting. Claudia Sheinbaum reached the presidency – 60% of the votes – after governing the capital, electing her successor, Clara Brugada, in Mexico City, and being aligned with the project of President Lopez Obrador and his party, MORENA. The allies of the winning bloc, the Labor Party (PT) and the Green Party (PV), together with MORENA presented a programmatic unity, in the social field and in traditions of popular, classist and environmentalist struggles that easily characterized their identity.

This was reinforced by Lopez Obrador's leadership, by his historic social struggle in Mexico, since the period of crisis of the former PRI that governed the country for more than half a century and the formation of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) (1989), of the which he participated in and was a presidential candidate in 2006.

Defeated, in an election contested by fraud, he remained active in party construction and disputes. Later, he distanced himself from the PRD due to criticism of its bureaucratization, electoralism and party involvement in administrative corruption processes. This departure led him to the formation of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) and his subsequent election as mayor of the capital.

In this analysis, we want to highlight the partisan vote, the vote for the Party or Parties of a Political Front. Identification with MORENA's origin trajectory, the votes for PT and PV have a more conscious and lasting political meaning, more coherent than the predominant nominal vote in Brazil.

Just to reinforce your memory, in Brazil in 2018, Jair Bolsonaro was a candidate and elected by the Social Liberal Party (PSL), electing 52 federal deputies. Four years later, the Party no longer existed.

In Mexico, the defeated candidate was Xochitl Galvez, representing the coalition: National Action Party (PAN), Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). The first two, historical adversaries since the Cardenismo of the 1930s and the PRD, with the entire process of institutionalization and loss of political identity of its origins. Despite distinct and contradictory histories, this coalition expressed predominant neoliberal thinking and achieved around 30% of the votes.


Comparing with the partisan explosion experienced in Brazil in recent decades, the nominal vote in the Legislature, the strange figure of the parliamentary amendment imposing on the public budget and the fraud of the “window” for changing parties in an election year without losing a mandate, is not It is difficult to understand the anti-democratic result we are experiencing in Brazilian presidentialism. The voter votes for one program to govern and elects another to legislate.

Professor Cláudia Scheinbaum was elected president of the Republic of Mexico and will have a majority to govern thanks to a better electoral system than ours. More coherent, more rational, more democratic.

Another lesson from the Mexican election that was also little highlighted by the media was the guarantee of gender parity in the composition of the Legislature. Electoral legislation had already determined an increasing percentage in the last elections and reached parity in this one.

The party lists already composed with equality of men and women guarantee the final result of gender parity in the Legislature.

This is no longer the example of European countries, several Latin American countries already adopt similar systems to guarantee gender parity or move in this direction. In the Brazilian case, the delay is historic and aggravated by the nominal vote, the main stimulus to corruption, clientelism and party degeneration. Even with recent measures to guarantee resources from the Electoral Fund for female candidates, representation percentages have barely changed. We have not even achieved 20% representation of women in the legislatures of federated entities.

With the nominal vote, disguised private financing, historic cultural patriarchy and parties transformed into business counters and political-religious charlatanism, the Brazilian electoral system will continue to be undemocratic.

Let us hope that the Mexican experience serves as an example to rekindle the urgent fight for electoral reform in Brazil and that women, the biggest victims of this inequality today, play a relevant role in defending gender parity in Legislatures. We need to combine the united struggle of women from all democratic parties to vote on a pre-ordained list with a bill that passes quickly and with the same unity in Congress.

*Raul Pont He is a professor and former mayor of Porto Alegre.

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