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Plutarco Eliás Calles (1877—1945)


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(Partido Revolucionario Institucional, Institutional Revolutionary Party) (Mexico)

Originally founded in 1929 as the National Revolutionary Party (Partido Nacional Revolucionário, PNR) by Calles, it sought to consolidate within a single movement the new political establishment, consisting of military leaders, civilian officeholders, and co‐opted labour leaders. It was reformed and renamed by Cardenás in 1938 as the Mexican Revolutionary Party (Partido de la Revolución Mexicana, PRM). The aim of the new movement was to represent the concerns of society as a whole through organizing its most important social groups in four separate sectors: peasants, labour, the military, and the middle classes. Thus it created an outlet for the social concerns of these groups while enabling the party oligarchy to retain control over the competing sectors within the single movement.

Under Alemán, the party was further reorganized and renamed as the PRI. Signifying the military's decline of importance within the Mexican state and Mexican society, it consisted of merely the peasant sector, the labour sector, and the ‘popular’ sector. Through this structure, the PRI managed to articulate the contradictory concerns of different social groups, and to encourage them thus to articulate their support. The PRI had a near‐complete monopoly of power through the 1970s. Because of the country's economic difficulties of the 1970s and 1980s, its support was eroded, and opposition parties managed to win state governorships for the first time in 1988. In the 1990s, the PRI tried to maintain power through promoting internal reform and greater transparency. In 1999, its candidate for the presidency was selected, for the first time, through primary elections. Despite this, its candidate, Francisco Labastida Ochoa, lost the 2000 Presidential elections to Vincente Fox. It was the first time in the seventy‐one years of the PRI's existence that the party did not present the President. It recovered in the 2003 parliamentary elections, but in 2006 it was pushed back into third place.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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