National Action Party

Published 28th June, 2012

The National Action Party or PAN was founded in 1939 as a social Christian conservative party. It describes itself as centre-right and believes in Conservatism, Christian Democracy and Liberal conservatism.

The National Action Party first fought elections against the dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1943. Over the next forty years they made very little headway. In 1943 they didn’t win a single seat but in 1946 they won four of 147 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house). They remained in single figures in every election until 1964 when they increased their take to 20 seats in an enlarged chamber with 200 members.

With more political parties contesting elections, the PRI finally lost their stranglehold on congress in 1997. But the real breakthrough for the National Action Party didn’t come until 2000. In that year and for the first time since their foundation their presidential candidate, Vicente Fox, won the election with 42.52% of the vote against the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate who dropped to 36.11%. The party, as part of the Alliance for Change came first in the Senate (upper house) taking 60 of the 128 seats and the Chamber of Deputies, taking 224 of 500 seats.

The breakthrough was to be short-lived in that their partner in the Alliance for Change, the Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM) left them after just one year.

By 2003 the party was in second place once more and took 151 of the 500 seats in the Chamber of deputies (the PRI took 224).

In 2006 as congressional elections were combined with the presidential election again the party did better. Their presidential candidate Felipe Calderón won with 36.38% of the vote, just 1.04% ahead of the second placed candidate. In the Chamber of Deputies they also did well and took 206 of the 500 seats, whilst in the Senate they took 52 of the 128 seats.

Nevertheless, the president has been forced to make compromises in a congress which has never had a PAN majority. It has taken its toll and in 2009 the PAN dropped to 147 of 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, coming second to the PRI with 241 seats.

In the 2012 elections the PAN appears to be doing badly and their presidential candidate is trailing in third place.

The National Action Party is a member of the Centrist Democrat International and the Christian Democratic Organization of America.

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