Before moving to Mexico, you might (or might not) be curious about the political system. For me, it was important to know only basics of the political system in Mexico which is a democracy. For temporary and permanent residents, restrictions are placed on political involvement. I don’t have the ability to vote or take place in any kind of political protest. Notably, this is for my own protection. Therefore, I am super conscientious of obeying the laws.
Mexico’s Govermental Structure
The federal constitution relegates several powers to the 31 states and the Federal District (Mexico City also known as DF or CDMX). These powers also have the ability to raise local taxes.
Moreover, state constitutions follow the model of the federal constitution with three independent branches of government:
This article was updated in August of 2023.
Mexico’s State Goverment
Most states have a unicameral legislature called the Chamber of Deputies, whose members serve three-year terms. Governors are popularly elected to six-year terms and may not be reelected. Because of Mexico’s tradition of highly centralized government, state and local budgets largely dependent on federally allocated funds.
Mexico’s Local Government
At its most basic level, local government of the political system in Mexico is administered by more than 2,000 units called municipios (municipalities). These may be entirely urban or consist of a town or central village as well as its hinterland. Members of municipio governments are typically elected for three-year terms.
Mexico’s Major Political Parties
Mexico’s major political parties represent a wide variety of political and social perspectives. Nine political parties are currently represented in Congress.
- Two have a predominant role in Mexican politics:
- PRI – Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party)
- PAN – Partido de Acción Nacional (National Action Party)
- Two others have notable representation in Congress:
- PRD – Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Democratic Revolutionary Party)
- MORENA – Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (National Regeneration Movement)
Additionally, many states require that no more than 70 to 80 percent of candidates be of one gender.
Women’s Voting Rights in Mexico
Additionally, women were first allowed to vote in the Yucatán in 1917. Elsewhere in Mexico, however, women could not vote in local elections or hold local office until 1947.
By the early 21st century:
- women occupied about one-fifth of the seats in the Senate
- more than one-fourth in the Chamber of Deputies
- a small number of ministerial and Supreme Court positions
Voting Rights in Mexico
Although all Mexican citizens aged 18 and older are required by law to vote, enforcement is lax. Mexicans living outside the country, including millions in the United States, are now allowed to vote by absentee ballot.