WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
6 Jun 1997 | | News

So Close and Yet So Far

Mexico's Mid-Term Elections and the Struggle for Democracy. Executive Summary.

So Close and Yet So Far:
Mexico's Mid-term Elections and the Struggle for Democracy

We are pleased to announce a report written by WOLA Associate Eric Olson, entitled So Close and Yet So Far: Mexico's Mid-term Elections and the Struggle for Democracy.
On July 6, 1997, there will be historic elections in Mexico with major implications for the future of that country. For the first time the mayor of Mexico City will be elected by the voters rather than appointed by the president. In addition, there is a serious contest for control of the lower house of ongress for the first time ever. The conditions under which the July elections are held will have a major impact on the election results. While major improvements have been made since the 1994 election, important questions remain unanswered. Will the elections be free and fair? Has the playing field for electoral competition been leveled by successive reforms? Will Mexico's electoral institutions have the strength and capacity to assure that the elections are carried out fairly? This report attempts to place the 1997 elections in a broader context of democratic transition in Mexico, and to suggest a framework for understanding the results. The underlying assumption is that the electoral process itself has an important bearing on the fairness of the electoral results. Social conflict, economic hardship, and political unrest have combined to make this an important moment in Mexico's struggle for democracy. The stakes have never been higher for Mexico and the United States. The Washington Office on Latin America is committed to an ongoing process of monitoring Mexico's electoral process. We hope this report will provide interested readers, press, and policy-makers a framework for interpreting the 1997 elections.