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Adam Brinegar, Scott Morgenstern and Daniel Nielson, "The PRI's Choice: Balancing Democratic Reform and Its Own Salvation," Party Politics, 12 (January, 2006), 77-97.

First Paragraph:
The forerunners of Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) consolidated their power in the 1920s and the party held its legislative majority until 1997 and the presidency until 2000. While many factors conditioned the collapse of PRI hegemony, we focus here on the 1996 reforms of the electoral system which compelled a qualitative change in the electoral campaigns of both the PRI and the opposition parties, the PAN and the PRD. Mexico began reforming its electoral system in 1977, but the 1996 reforms provided an unprecedented leveling of the playing field. Previous reforms had reduced electoral fraud and increased representation for the opposition, but they allowed the PRI to safely remain in power because of its grip on the media, its massively disproportionate share of campaign expenditures and its continued ability to rely on fraud in many parts of the country. In addition to dealing with the gross over-representation, corruption, and other factors, the 1996 reform provided very generous campaign funds and extensive free media time to the parties, thereby allowing the opposition to run professional campaigns for the first time. Charges of corruption, the long economic crisis, social conflicts, and other contextual factors led voters away from the PRI, but the reforms allowed the historic opposition victories.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Percentage of total vote won by candidates for Congress by major party, 1985-2000
Table 2. Electoral results for the Chamber of Deputies in 1997
Figure 1. Simple spatial representation of preferences
Figure 2. The President's utility curves

Last Paragraph:
In short, our model is applicable to all cases where only two assumptions are necessary. First, contestation occurs (meaning that there is some sanctioned political opposition) over the issue of political reform. And second, a moderate and decisive part of the leadership is willing to cut a deal with the opposition over the issue of reform. The key, again, is whether the moderates, if pushed, are willing to break with their co-partisans and cut a deal with the opposition. This was apparently the case for Mexico in 1996. At that time, since their reform-minded president was willing to compromise with the opposition, Mexico experienced its first alternation of legislative - and, later, executive - power in almost 70 years.