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|Chapter |1 | |


This chapter lays down the basics for the research analysis. Thinking of the research question, it focuses on identifying the manifestations of conflict that will constitute the object of study, aswell as on the changes introduced by democratization that could be associated with conflicts at the state level. The information suggests that electoral competition and multiparty governments introduced separation of purpose in the state government relationships, therefore making political incumbents more active and participative, closer to their constituencies and eager to enlarge theirrelative independency, powers and resources. This provided them with the incentives to disagree with one another, and potentially, to escalate disagreements into conflicts.

In general, the chapter identifies the main tendencies that characterised the advancement of democratic political competition along with the new political configurations of government created by the possibility of multiple partieshaving access to positions at different branches and tiers of government. It examines the place occupied by conflicts amongst a number of manifestations of dissent that emerged in the context of the reactivation of separation of powers. In accordance with the definition of conflict, the chapter sets out the two main manifestations of subnational conflict to be addressed in this research. Thefirst consists of constitutional controversies as an indicator of conflict between the executive and the legislative in the horizontal dimension and between the states and the federal executive in the vertical dimension. The second manifestation refers to the emergence of new collective dynamic in the federal bargain. In addition to the traditional one-to-one conflicts between states and thefederation, the chapter identifies the evolution of a fiscal insurgency in Mexico.

The chapter unfolds in four sections. The first section explores the new democratic patterns of electoral competition and government fragmentation at both the horizontal and the vertical dimensions of government. The second reviews the revitalization of checks and balances that followed the separation of purposebrought in by these tendencies and the resulting manifestations of dissent. The third section defines conflict, presenting constitutional controversies and its pertinence as an indicator of conflict, including a preliminary view on the related data. The fourth section explains fiscal insurgency identifying the stages that characterized its evolution. Final remarks are produced in the final section.1.1. Electoral competition, political alternation and divided governments

Democratization brought a sound electoral democracy, as meaningful competition between multiple political parties enabled them to win different positions of government and therefore, to share power fragmenting legislative representations and creating the partisan division of governments. Mexico became a democratic systemto the extent that there are recurring, free, competitive and fair elections are held for the country’s most important offices (Schumpeter, 1942). Even though there is still contentious whether it can be considered a consolidated democracy or not, there is an agreement on the fact that the Mexican system meets the procedural requirements of an electoral democracy, where ‘different politicalinterests, aggregated and articulated through political party organizations, compete freely through periodic and regularly scheduled elections’ (Foweraker, Landman, et al., 2003: 40).

This section aims to investigate the centripetal[1] evolution of the democratisation process at the state level in Mexico from 1989 to 2006. The purpose is twofold. First, it is to identify the main tendencies that...
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