Mexico Elections: Parties Generating Passions Incendiary in Weak Political Culture

By Mexico Voices, 04/14/15

This was a column originally published in Reforma: Diego Valadés – Translated by Mexico Voices

In a democratic system, the citizens’ expectations of freedom, welfare and justice tend to be very high. When these anticipated goals are not met, dissatisfaction can rise and, in general, affects leaders’ images. However, in systems with lower levels of legal-political culture, nonconformity is directed less toward government officials and more towards politics and, at a critical phase, even against democracy.

Although there aren’t foolproof indicators, there are scientific methods for measuring the results of constitutional systems. One example of these methods is from The Economist’s Intelligence Unit. Already in its seventh edition, their democracy index is based on five categories: electoral process and party pluralism; government functioning; political participation; political culture, and civil liberties. In the 2014 survey, Mexico placed 57th out of 167 countries.

As accustomed as we are to belonging to the lower segment of international tables, this place might not be so bad. According to their scoring system, countries are grouped as full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. We are placed among the 52 countries that make up the second group and not among the 24 countries of the first, which includes Uruguay (17) and Costa Rica (24).

On their scale of 1 to 10, our strongest category had to do with our electoral process, which received an 8.33. In government functioning and political participation, we barely received a 6; in political culture, a 5. In this last category, only 5 of the 52 flawed democracies were classified below Mexico.

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