Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Political Science


English (en)

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Norman Schofield


Despite the multi-party feature of the federal electoral system in Mexico, local elections are essentially embedded in a bipartisan system. Literature has thus far assumed that democratic transitions will permeate from the national to the sub-national level. However, in Mexico, even a decade after the democratic transition occurred at the federal level, some states have lagged behind. Most of the work done on this topic, for the Mexican case, analyzes the problem at a macro level that ignores the dynamics of election at local districts, focusing mainly on the link between the federal congress and state governors. I argue that democratic transition as a policy dimension can dominate in an election, and political parties can take advantage of this by forming coalitions, even with unlikely partners. This paper tries to answer whether such a coalition was indeed successful or not during the 2010 elections. In 2010, 14 Mexican states held elections. Each of them renewed state Congressand in six of them a remarkable number of the contended seats were won by a coalition between PAN and PRD. It is found that a PAN-PRD coalition does not guarantee the incumbent party can be overthrown. Results show that such a coalition can reduce the probability of PRI being voted in a district by up to 60%.


Political Economy and Public Policy, Center for Political Economy

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