The 2012 Mexican Elections: A New Test for Democracy

June 02, 2011
02:00 pm - 03:30 pm

Dr. Luis Carlos Ugalde – The 2012 Mexican Elections: A New Test for Democracy from National Endowment for Democracy on Vimeo.

Watch all videos from this event

View Presentation


Dr. Luis Carlos Ugalde
Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

With comments by

Dr. Santiago Levy Algazi (watch remarks)
Inter-American Development Bank

Moderated by

Dr. Diego Abente-Brun
International Forum for Democratic Studies

As Mexicans prepare to go to the polls next year to elect a new president, memories of Mexico’s 2006 presidential election remain vividly in the background. In 2006, Mexican political institutions were challenged when President Felipe Calderon defeated challenger Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador by a razor-thin margin of just 0.56 percent. Calderon’s narrow victory and Lopez Obrador’s persistent refusal to accept the results ignited a prolonged period of post-electoral conflict. The 2012 presidential election, which is likely to be hard-fought and closely contested, will pose a new test for Mexican democracy at a time of increased violence due to drug trafficking. Dr. Luis Carlos Ugalde, former president of Mexico’s Federal Electoral Commission (IFE) in 2006, put the upcoming Mexican elections in historical perspective and to offered recommendations on how to strengthen Mexico’s evolving democracy. Dr. Santiago Levy Algazi provided comments.


Over the past twenty years, Dr. Luis Carlos Ugalde has combined a distinguished academic career with high-ranking positions within the Mexican government. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the president of Mexico’s Federal Electoral Commission (IFE), presiding over the country’s contested 2006 presidential election. He has taught at various universities across Mexico and the United States, including the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) in Mexico City, Harvard University, Georgetown University, and American University. He has authored numerous publications, including As I Lived It: A Testimony of the Most Competitive Election in the Modern History of Mexico (2008, in Spanish) and The Mexican Congress: Old Player, New Power (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2000). During his fellowship, Dr. Ugalde is comparing his experience during Mexico’s 2006 presidential election with other cases of contested elections, in order to identify factors that increase the likelihood of post-electoral conflict in both new and consolidated democracies.

Dr. Santiago Levy Algazi is the vice president for sectors and knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank.