Institutional Revolutionary Party

Published 28th June, 2012

The Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI was founded in 1929 as the National Revolutionary Party (PNR). In 1938 they changed their name to the Party of the Mexican Revolution (PRM) and in 1946 they changed it once more to the current name. The party describes itself as centre-left and believes in Corporatism, Social Democracy and Democratic Nationalism.

From its foundation in 1929 the Institutional Revolutionary Party dominated the political landscape until 1997. They won every election leaving just a handful to smaller parties in the Chamber of Deputies and for many years were the sole party in the Senate or upper house.

The cracks really only started to appear in the 1980s. In 1988 their presidential candidate Carlos Salinas de Gortari was the first to drop below 70% of the vote, taking just 50.7% of the vote. Although the party still dominated the upper house, in the Chamber of deputies the PRI nearly lost control for the first time, taking just 260 of the 500 seats.

In 1991 and 1994 they recovered their dominance but in 1997 the PRI lost control of the Chamber of deputies for the first time, taking 239 of the 500 seats.

In 2000 their 71 year dominance came to abrupt end. Their presidential candidate, Francisco Labastida Ochoa, took 36.11% of the vote a full 2.4 million votes behind the National Action Party (Alliance for Change) candidate, Vicente Fox. In the Chamber of Deputies they came second with 208 seats and in the Senate they took 51 of 128 seats, again coming second.

By 2003 the PRI had recovered some of their old status and came first in the Chamber of Deputies election with 224 seats which meant that the PAN President was obliged to constantly negotiate with them.

In 2006 the Institutional Revolutionary Party had its worst result ever. In a highly controversial election their presidential candidate came a poor third, in the Chamber of deputies they were reduced to just 106 of 500 seats (third place) and in the Senate they came second but with just 35 of the 128 seats. It looked as though the PRI, which had become associated with corruption and poor management in recent years, was on the way out.

But the PRI was to recover; in 2009 they bounced back into first place, taking 241 of the 500 seats in the Chamber of deputies (the only election that year).

In 2012 their presidential candidate appears to be a clear leader and that probably means they will do well in the congressional elections as well.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a member of the Socialist International. It is also a member of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean (COPPPAL).

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