Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, May 05, 2016

The power of a party

In China, a party seems all-powerful. In Russia and Iran, parties seem irrelevant. In the UK, the major parties seem to be nearly equal rivals. In Nigeria, parties are evolving. In Mexico, the PRI seems to retain power no matter what. How can that be?

Few Expect Mexico’s Government to Suffer at Polls, Despite Outrage Over Abductions
In a drab white tent along Reforma Avenue here, across from offices of the attorney general, a small group gathers each day to maintain the vigil for the 43.

The tent bears their black and white images: forty-three students from a teachers college, seized by the police in the city of Iguala in September 2014 and never heard from again; literal and figurative reminders of their absence.

The same street once teemed with hundreds of thousands of protesters…

Yet that rage, like the crowds themselves, has dissipated…

Public pressure has been building in recent days, as it became clear that the international panel, brought in to uncover what happened to the missing students, was unable to do so…

The panel’s final report, issued Sunday, detailed the failings of the government’s investigation…

And though it will likely define the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, his political party, the P.R.I., may not suffer. In past elections, the party has managed to outperform its rivals in the face of controversy, and some in and outside of government say the discontent, frustration and grief over the students will do little to dampen the party’s status as the dominant political force in the nation.

“Will that harm the P.R.I.? I’m not convinced of that,” said Pamela Starr, a professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in Mexico…

“It should hurt them, and if it was the P.R.I. against two united opposition parties, it might,” she added.

Mr. Peña Nieto’s approval ratings plummeted after the disappearances… But last year, the party managed to win the midterm elections anyway. And recent polling suggests that the party is expected to retain majority control in governors’ elections in June.

“They [the PRI leaders] know they have lost the battle for international public opinion, but they think they can win the domestic public opinion battle,” said Jorge Castañeda, a political analyst and former foreign minister. “They may be right. There may be no serious consequences domestically.”…

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