Publication | Report/Paper

Mexicos Mid-Term Elections, July 6, 1997 International Visitors Report


"The elections of July 6 represent, perhaps, a new era in the history of Mexico. I emphasize the word 'perhaps' because by definition, the future is unforeseeable; we have taken a decisive step, but we still have quite a way to go and many problems await us: It all depends on our ability to continue with perseverance. Let us remember that democracy is not only a theory, but rather a practice ".

These words written by the famous Mexican author Octavio Paz the day after the elections eloquently expresses the country's contentment with the historic electoral process and the hopeful, yet cautious, outlook towards the democratic future of Mexico.

The July 6, 1997 elections were considered by the majority of the media, politicians, political analysts, NGOs, national observers, and international visitors to have been the fairest and cleanest in Mexico's history, with few contentious incidents being reported. President Ernesto Zedillo called the elections "a step toward democracy"3 and acknowledged the oppositions' advances.

IFES sent a delegation of eleven international visitors to witness the electoral process, which were the first to be held under the 1996 electoral reforms. Judging the impact of the reforms on the elections was the central focus of IFES' mission.

This report is structured to provide the reader with background information on the political-electoral system in Mexico and the electoral reforms that have been implemented. Following those sections, the report details the activities of the IFES Mission while in Mexico and states IFES' observations, recommendations, and conclusions regarding the elections.

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