Vote Buying with Illegal Resources: Manifestation of a Weak Rule of Law in Mexico

Gilles Serra


Mexico’s consolidation strategy seems to be reaching a limit. The country’s transition from authoritarianism was largely based on a series of electoral reforms that leveled the playing field in elections. While this strategy was initially successful, it has failed to address several problems, especially in the electoral arena. This essay analyzes the prevalence of two such problems, vote buying and illegal campaign finance, which are closely connected. I draw evidence from available accounts of the 2012 presidential election and subsequent contests in problematic states such as Tabasco. The outcomes of the midterm elections of June 2015 are also used to assess whether previous electoral reforms have provided effective solutions to the problems analyzed here. I suggest that no legal reform will be effective while these laws are only being weakly enforced. A more comprehensive package of measures strengthening the rule of law would help Mexico transition from electoral democracy to liberal democracy.

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