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Mexico's Political Institutions

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Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Mexico's political institutions make up an extensive government to run the culture-rich country. Explore the political institutions of Mexico, from the branches of the Federal Government to the self-contained governments of its 31 states. Updated: 11/01/2021

Political Institutions of Mexico

This is Mexico. Or, as they call it south of the border: México. Mexico is a nation that is full of art, music, food, industry, sports, leisure, and tradition. But, who oversees all of this? Well, just like us, Mexico has a government. The Mexican government is in charge of governing all of Mexico, which is a pretty big job, and so this government is pretty extensive. But, what exactly does this government look like? Well, let's find out.

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  • 0:01 Political Institutions…
  • 0:37 Federal Government of Mexico
  • 3:07 States of Mexico
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
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The Federal Government of Mexico

Much like in the United States, the Mexican people recognized the need for a government but also were worried about one person becoming too powerful. So, like in the United States, the Mexican government features a separation of powers, breaking up political power amongst different branches of government. There are three branches that together create the federal government.

The first is the judicial branch, concerned with upholding laws and promoting justice. The Mexican judiciary is led by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. This is a lot like our Supreme Court, and it presides over court cases of national significance and upholds Mexico's constitution. There are eleven judges on the Supreme Court.

The next branch of government is the legislative, in charge of making laws. Mexico's legislative branch is led by the Congress of the Union. Just like our Congress, Mexico's is bicameral, having two houses, which are the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Senate has 128 representatives; the Chamber of Deputies has 500. These two houses debate and pass laws, create taxes, declare war, approve the national budget, and even make treaties with foreign nations. Since Mexico has a representative government, and Congress is filled with 628 officials elected to represent the people, this branch has lots of power as far as deciding what daily life looks like in Mexico.

Finally, we've got the executive branch, or the office of the president. Between the branches of government, this is the one that is the most different from what we're used to here in the USA. The Mexican president serves a term of six years, and once he or she has served, can never be re-elected. Thanks to a long period of dictators who took control of Mexico throughout the 19th century, the nation is a bit paranoid about presidential power, so there are a lot of guidelines in place to prevent the president from ever becoming too powerful. However, the president still does have lots of power, including the rights to veto congressional decisions. The president of Mexico, as of 2015, is Enrique Peña Nieto. He was elected in 2012, will serve for 6 years, and can never be elected again.

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