Partido de la Revolución Democrática/ Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)

In 1986, a group of prominent left-leaning pro-reform priístas formed the Corriente Democrático (Democratic Current) within the PRI party in an effort to promote a more democratic and open party that they felt had become calcified and hierarchical. After their reforms failed to take root in the party, a number of them, including the son of former Mexican President and founder of the PRI – Lázaro Cárdenas, publically split with the PRI. President Cárdenas’s son, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, quickly became the leader of a fractured and disaffected left, and ran for President with the support of numerous parties in 1988.

Cárdenas is widely believed to have won the election, but it was marred by extensive allegations of fraud and the PRI’s candidate, Carlos Salinas de Gotari, was declared the winner.  After this experience, the parties of the left and disaffected priístas joined together to form the PRD and began the process of fielding unified candidates under the PRD banner.

The party is strongest in Central and Southern Mexico, where it holds five governorships, the mayorship of Mexico City, which it has held since Cuautémoc Cárdenas became the first directly elected mayor of the capital city in 1997, and the majority of the Mexico City Assembly. At present, there are 25 PRD senators, representing 19.5 percent of all seats, and 72 deputies, equaling 13.6 percent of the Chamber.

In federal elections until 2006, the PRD generally trailed the other two major parties. However, in that last election, candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador lost the election by just .58 percent of the popular vote. López Obrador and his supporters denounced the election as fraudulent, though the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) rejected this claim based on a partial recount and other evidence. When the IFE denied the request for a full recount, the PRD called for demonstrations in the capital and named López Obrador the “legitimate president of Mexico.”

These tactics did not appeal to all party members, leading to several years of bitter infighting. Recently, however, the major PRD figures put aside their divisions and appeared together in a united front to support their candidate for governor in the State of Mexico elections (July 3rd).

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