Partido de la Revolución Institucional/Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)

Formed after the devastating Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and the period of political instability that followed, the PRI was formed in an effort to prevent further violence among rival political groups.  The stability that ensued was so successful that the party dominated at all levels of government until 2000. The PRI held all state governorships until 1989, a majority in both congressional chambers until 1997, and the presidency until 2000.

Organized around broad “sectors” of society, the PRI stayed in power and kept its incorporated groups in the coalition through a combination of party discipline and government largess, and supplemented with a combination of electoral manipulation, intimidation and outright fraud, as well as ideological swings intended to reflect broader political dynamics in the country. Historically, the party has been considered nationalist, with members from the socialist left to a business elite making up its ranks.

After two tough presidential elections (2000 and 2006), in which the PRI lost its grip on the presidency, the party has undergone a process of soul-searching and reforms in an attempt to break with its past and project an image of competent democratic leadership.  The party swept the 2009 congressional elections and now represent the largest faction in the Chamber of Deputies with 48.0 percent (240 seats) and the second largest in the Senate with 27.8 percent (33 seats). They also now have 19 state governorships, and the prospects for the 2012 presidential race seem much more promising than they did in the 2006 election.

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