Political party transformation in Mexico : the case of candidate selection reform in the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) in Mexico (2000-2006)



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The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico lost power in 2000 after controlling the governing structure for 71 years. With the old rules gone forever, the PRI needed to regroup in order to survive as a viable party. This thesis explores how the PRI went about transforming its candidate selection procedures from 2000 to 2006 in order to remain a viable political party. Since the president of Mexico made most candidate selection decisions previously, the party had no choice but to reform its procedures. What emerged was a battle for power and influence between and among the party leaders at the national level and party affiliated state governors. Those state governors sought to dominate party structures within their states as the President of the Republic once dominated the party nationally. To restore the legitimacy many in the party thought it lost, the PRI first experimented with open primaries. It eventually concluded that open primaries caused divisions, thus often hurting the party electorally. As time passed, the PRI moved away from selecting candidates through open primaries and sought to nominate unity candidates.