In This Review

Subnational Politics and Democratization in Mexico
Subnational Politics and Democratization in Mexico
Edited by Wayne A. Cornelius, Todd A. Eisenstadt and Jane Hi
Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, 1999, 369 pp

This important book should be required reading for those in Washington and on Wall Street who will be nervously watching Mexico's presidential elections in July 2000. The volume's distinguished contributors examine the growing tension between Mexico's national transition to democracy and the resilience of authoritarian, antidemocratic pockets linked to the governing party, the PRI, in many regions. The authors pose fundamental questions about the future, making clear that reform precipitates a bitter struggle over political authority, financial resources, and the illegal spoils of power in a system permeated with corruption. The contradiction between the desire for administrative and fiscal decentralization and the fear of fortifying the power of local bosses poses a major dilemma for the central government, with no easy solution. Many of the challenges facing President Ernesto Zedillo's administration since the 1994 election should be seen in this light, Cornelius argues. A timely reminder of the complications and contradictory results that democratization of an authoritarian system can bring.