From centralized authoritarianism to disarticulated democracy?

Authored by: Steven T. Wuhs

Routledge Handbook of Regionalism and Federalism

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415566216
eBook ISBN: 9780203395974
Adobe ISBN: 9781136727627


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Mexico has long confounded scholars who sought to place countries into an undisputed federal or unitary category. Its constitution, including the current 1917 constitution and earlier versions, proclaimed that Mexico was a federal state, but until very recently Mexico did not operate federally. Like many of its Latin American neighbours, Mexico has a long history of political centralism which, combined with its 20th-century experience of authoritarianism under a party-state regime, produced a system marked by extraordinarily concentrated decision-making authority. Mexico is thus different from many of the other cases in this volume. Whereas states like Spain and the United Kingdom are sometimes considered hybrid because they are constitutionally unitary but increasingly decentralized, modern Mexico was always constitutionally federal, but regime and party attributes made its constitutional structure somewhat obsolete.

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