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politics and government of
The federal government of Mexico is made up of three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
The executive branch is headed by the president, who is also the chief of state and of the army. The legislative branch consists of the Union of Congress and is divided into an upper and lower chamber. The judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation and does not participate in federal elections.
The president of mexico is elected for a six-year term by direct election of the population. The candidate who wins a plurality of votes is elected president. No president can serve more than a single term in office, therefore every presidential election in Mexico is a non-incumbent election.
Mexico does not have an office of vice president.
Candidates for president must be at least 35 years old. They must be Mexican citizens by birth, as must one of their parents. They must have been residents of Mexico for at least 20 years. They also cannot have been either the governor of a state or the chief of government of Mexico City for six months prior to the election.
The Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) has 500 members, elected for a three-year term. 300 deputies are elected in single-seat constituencies by plurality. The constituencies are divided among the 32 states based on population. The remaining 200 deputies are elected by proportional representation in five multi-state, 40-seat constituencies.
To be eligible to place candidates in the multi-seat districts a party must have candidates in at least 200 of the 300 single-seat districts and must win at least 2% of the vote in those elections. The 200 PR-seats are distributed based on the percentage of the total national votes earned by each party without taking into account the 300 plurality-seats (parallel voting). However, since 1996, a party cannot get more seats overall than 8% above its result nationally (i.e., to win 50% of the legislative seats, a party must win at least 42% of the vote nationwide). There are three exceptions on this rule: first, a party can only lose PR-seats due to this rule (and no plurality-seats); second, a party can never get more than 300 seats overall (even if it has more than 52% of the vote nationally); and third, a party can exceed this 8% rule if it wins the seats in the single-member districts. Deputies may serve up to four consecutive terms.
The Chamber of Senators (Cámara de Senadores) has 128 members, elected for a six-year term. 96 of these seats are in three-seat constituencies (corresponding to the nation's 31 states and Mexico City, the former Federal District which is the national capital). In these constituencies, two seats are awarded to the party with the most votes and one seat is awarded to the party with the second most votes. The remaining 32 seats are awarded by proportional representation on a nationwide basis. Senators may run for a consecutive term.
Candidates for the Chamber of Senators must be registered voters at least 25 years old. They also must have been born in, or been residents of the states they are running in for at least six months. Electoral magistrates, the Secretary of the Electoral Tribunal, and the Executive Secretary and Executive Director of the INE must separate themselves from their positions for at least three years before seeking legislative office.
At the local level, each of Mexico's 31 constituent states elects a governor to serve a six-year term; they also elect legislative deputies who sit in state congresses, and municipal presidents (presidentes municipales, or mayors). Mexico City, the national capital, elects a head of government in lieu of a mayor, city assemblymen in lieu of state congressional deputies, and borough mayors in lieu of municipal mayors.
To be a Governor of a state of Mexico:
Members of the state legislature (Legislatura del Estado) are elected to three-year terms. Forty-five seats are apportioned in direct elections in single-member districts and 30 are apportioned via proportional appointments. Political parties nominate their candidates for proportional appointments before the election. For a party to be eligible for proportional-appointment seats they must run candidates in at least 30 districts and receive at least 3% of the vote throughout the state.
Deputies can serve up to four consecutive terms.
Similar to the federal Chamber of Deputies, a party cannot have more than 8% more seats in the legislature than their percentage of state-wide votes (e.g., to win 50% of the legislative seats, a party must win at least 42% of the vote statewide) unless that excess was earned in the direct elections.
To be a deputy of the legislature:
Mexico has a multi-party system, with three dominant political parties. Prior to 2000 Mexico had a dominant-party system under the Institutional Revolutionary Party, and a number of smaller opposition parties. Alliances and coalitions are common: normally, they are local (state) affairs and involve one of the big three and any number of minor parties, though in extraordinary occasions two of the big three will ally themselves against the third (e.g., 2003 Colima state election or 2004 Chihuahua state election).
In order to be able to vote, all Mexican citizens must obtain a photographic voter identification card from the National Electoral Institute (Instituto Nacional Electoral [INE]). To receive a card, potential voters need:
With these three documents, a potential voter can request their Credentials to Vote card (Credencial para Votar).
Article 2 of the Mexican constitution provides for the self-government of indigenous communities according to their 'traditional customs' (Spanish: sistema de usos y costumbres). This has resulted in several indigenous communities in Mexico maintaining local systems, notably those of Cherán, and areas under Councils of Good Government control.
National Congress (June)
National Congress (July)
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National Congress (December)
National Congress (December)
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