Mexico’s PAN Stumbles into 2010 Election Season

Mexico’s PAN Stumbles into 2010 Election Season

MEXICO CITY -- Ten years ago, Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) swept to power on an agenda of change, ousting the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after 71 years of uninterrupted rule. The PAN agenda included more jobs, 7 percent economic growth and honest government -- a departure from the PRI, which had presided over a political system oiled by corruption and patronage.

A decade later, removing the PRI from power on the federal level remains the party's greatest accomplishment. Much of the center-right party's agenda has gone unfulfilled, and the PAN has largely failed to establish itself as a party of government -- despite having narrowly won the disputed 2006 presidential election.

The PAN faces voters again on July 4, as the country holds gubernatorial elections in 12 states. And while such races are largely influenced by local factors and regional political machines, the 2010 elections are expected to once again highlight popular disenchantment with a decade of PAN rule. It's also another chance for voters to pass judgment on the federal government's handling of the underperforming economy and the rampant drug-related violence that has claimed more than 23,000 lives since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006.

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