2006 Mexican Elections: A Challenge for Democracy

This coming July, Mexicans will not only have the chance to democratically elect a president, but more importantly, they will have the opportunity to endorse democracy. On July of 2000, Mexico had its first democratic elections after being ruled by a single party - PRI - for seventy one years. The question is not whether Mexico has transited to democracy, but rather, whether Mexicans - the government, the politicians, the media, civil society, and the citizens in general can sustain and consolidate the new democratic system.

With the intent of shedding some light on this question, Mexicanos at Stanford University, the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists, and Yost House organized the conference "2006 Mexican Elections: A Challenge for Democracy." The event took place on Saturday March 11, 2006 in Stanford's Kresge auditorium.

The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, The Charles F. Riddell Fund - Yost House, the Center for Latin American Studies, VPUE/DOSA - New Student Initiatives, Bechtel International Center, El Guiding Concilio - El Centro Chicano, Camacho Fund, ASSU Speakers Bureau, and United Airlines were co-sponsors of the conference.

The 2006 Mexican Elections conference proved to be wonderfully enriching for anyone with an interest in Mexican politics and/or in democratic consolidation. The conference consisted of three sections: a) a roundtable that discussed the role of the media in the 2006 electoral process; b) a keynote address given by one of the most respected figures in Mexican academia, the historian and essayist Enrique Krauze, on the progress that Mexico has achieved in the political arena in the last decade, and on the challenges that Mexicans will face in the coming 2006 presidential election; and, c) a political debate between representatives of the three main political parties in Mexico - PRI, PAN and PRD.

This report provides a brief summary of the main arguments addressed by each speaker, the most important themes and points of discussion that arose in each panel, a brief analysis of each section, and a conclusion.