Mexico’s Congress and July 2003 Elections Page: 2 of 6
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President takes office on December 1, in which case Congress may extend until December
31. The second session begins on March 15 and extends to April 30. In case of need,
extraordinary sessions may be called, more commonly at the end of the year when action
on the President's budget is required. During the recess periods, the Permanent
Commission, consisting of 19 members from the Chamber of Deputies and 18 members
from the Senate, may act, and is responsible for convening extraordinary sessions.
Organization. The two chambers of Congress are organized into leadership bodies
and into committees to prepare and consider legislation. The Chamber of Deputies has
24 ordinary commissions or committees, 6 special committees, and 2 bicameral
committees; while the Senate has 48 commissions or committees. Each chamber has a
leadership council, called the Directive Table (Mesa Directiva), with multi-party
representation, that directs the operation of the legislative body; and each chamber also
has a Political Coordination Council (Junta de Coordinaci6n Politica) with a
representative from each of the political parties to coordinate policies.
Differences from U.S. Congress. Mexico's Congress is strikingly different
from the U.S. Congress in several regards. (1) Shared Leadership: In the Mexican
Congress, leadership is shared among the parties, with chairmanships accorded to all
parties roughly proportionate to the share of seats in the chamber, and with major parties
participating in the Directive Table. (2) No Re-election: Growing out of the Mexican
Revolution's slogan "effective suffrage, no re-election," representatives in the Mexican
Congress may not be immediately re-elected, although they may run for office in the other
chamber, or run again after an intervening term. Critics argue that this no re-election
provision undermines the principle of accountability and the development of expertise in
a subject matter. Others see the principle of no re-election as a hard-won victory and are
reluctant to change the system. (3) Division of Committee Chairmanships between
Chambers: Under a political accord in the Mexican Congress, the parties have agreed
that the same party may not control the chairmanship of the same commission or
committee in both chambers. Taken together, these mechanisms create a series of checks
and balances and enhance the requirements for consensus-building to enact legislation.
Results of the July 2000 Election
Mexico's 58th Legislature (2000-2003) is the product of the July 2000 elections
which ended the 71-year control of the Presidency by the Institutional Revolutionary
Party (PRI), and continued the trend toward dispersion of power in the two chambers of
the Congress. In the period leading up to the election, several major election reforms
were adopted in the 1990s that established an independent and widely respected Federal
Electoral Institute (IFE), provided for the direct election of the mayor of the Mexico City
Federal District, guaranteed equal access to the media, and placed controls on campaign
spending. In the July 1997 congressional elections, while the PRI remained the single
largest party, it lost its long-held majority in the Chamber of Deputies, it lost the
two-thirds majority in the Senate, and it lost the all-important race for Mayor of Mexico
City. In the July 2000 elections, these tendencies continued.
President. On July 2, 2000, Vicente Fox of the Alliance for Change, representing
the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and the environment-oriented Green
Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM) was elected President with 42.52% of the vote,
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Mexico’s Congress and July 2003 Elections, report, July 28, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc808377/m1/2/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.