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Joy Langston, "The Changing Party of the Institutional Revolution: Electoral Competition and Decentralized Candidate Selection," Party Politics, 12 (May, 2006), 395-413.

First Paragraph:
Political parties are often forced to redesign electoral strategies in the face of new external challenges in the political-electoral environment. One of the most important tasks of any political party is to select candidates who will then compete under the organization's label in electoral contests. In non-competitive electoral environments, the pressures on the leaders of political parties to choose certain candidates do not include their popularity with the voters, but rather with other goals, such as building factional support and strengthening the leader's position within the regime. In the mid-1990s, Pippa Norris classified the Party of the Institutional Revolution (or PRI) as a centralized, patronage-based party (1996: 203). Yet, less than 10 years later this classification has begun to change. This work examines how Mexico's hegemonic party1 has reacted to external electoral pressures and, in doing so, sought out party politicians whose careers are now based in state politics, not the national political arena, to represent the organization in competitive elections. The federal form of government plays an important part in this process, but because it does not change over the time period studied it cannot be considered an explanatory variable. Rather, rising competition at the ballot box is filtered through this multi-tiered structure of power-sharing, forcing politicians to win elections in the local, state and national arenas. As a result, party leaders within the traditionally centralized party organization have begun to choose more state-based candidates for the Senate and allow governers more influence in the selection process, which has the effect of devolving some candidate selection power to the revived state political arena.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Prior posts of PRI majority senate candidate profiles: Average of 1976, 1982, 1988 compared to 2000
Figure 1. Overall senate vote won by each party, 1970-2000
Table 2. Descriptive statistics of the candidate profile model
Table 3. Logit regressions for candidate profile
Table 4. Prior experience, PRI and Pan majority senate candidates (2000-6)

Last Paragraph:
There have been other important changes within the organization of the once-hegemonic PRI; however, in this article I have concentrated only on the decentralization of senate recruitment to exemplify the wider transformation of the PRI. One of the most important points not covered in this work is changing of candidate selection rules for top executive posts, such as the president and governors. After political competition had made the exit option for PRI politicians viable, losing gubernatorial hopefuls, who had lost out in the nomination, began to leave the party and run under opposition banners. The combination of political competition and exit options for ambitious politicians convinced President Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) to rework the gubernatorial nomination rules in practice (formally, these procedures did not change as primaries were contemplated in the statutes, but almost never used). Ending almost 70 years of top-down presidential imposition of PRI gubernatorial candidates, Zedillo and the PRI's top leadership instituted open primaries in 1998. These primaries shifted the incentive structure for ambitious politicians, as state-level PRI politicians now had an advantage over their national counterparts because they were better known among the state's electorate. Thus, in addition to decentralizing legislative recruitment, electoral competition had the effect of devolving decision-making power to the state's voters, governors and stateoriented politicians.