In first place, the big parties, above all the PRI and the PAN, have consolidated themselves in the population's vote and the PRI could even reach an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Second, the small parties are in trouble and probably one or two of them will lose their registration. Third, what has already become clear is that the rules imposed in the last electoral reform are difficult to enforce and easy to break. At this point it's difficult argue otherwise. This implies, absolutely, that we must pass another electoral reform, the second of this presidential term. And lastly, the famous null vote, despite its good intentions, has only served to augment the percentage of votes for the largest parties, given that the null vote can't be counted, as is the case with the parties that lose their registration (thanks also in part to the null vote).Chabat then turns his guns on the parties:
In other words, the results of the electoral process suggest that the partidocracy not only hasn't been weakened, but it has come out stronger. Evidently the blank vote reflects the discontent of the population with the party system that we have, but the results seem to be contrary to those that were sought. Which is to say, the consequences don't coincide with the intentions.I agree with every one of the specific reforms suggested by Chabat (with the possible exception of the financing, about which I don't know enough to have a definite opinion), but I'm not crazy about framing all of this as the means to the end of weaker parties. Mexico's parties, which have helped protect the political stability of the nation for decades, are as much a blessing as they are a curse. On a theoretical continuum of party strength, the Mexican parties are probably a little stronger than would be ideal, but weakening the parties too much could bring about consequences graver than the present dissatisfaction. Weaker parties should be a byproduct of the above reforms rather than their goal.
All of the above puts forth a complex panorama ahead of the coming electoral reform. On the one hands it's evident that there are many things that must be reformed, such as the prohibition on negative campaigns, which only benefits the parties in power in impeding criticism of them. We also must permit immediate reelection because its prohibition only benefits the party bureaucracies. The financing of the parties, which borders on the obscene, must be reduced, just as we must limit the fuero, which permits legislators and executives to do whatever they please without any consequence. All of these reforms are urgent and necessary.
It seems as though certain commentators see the unpopularity of parties as a final judgment on their performance, but I don't imagine parties are beloved institutions in any democracy the world over. Not being satisfied with a political party is like not enjoying a colonoscopy: it's perfectly understandable, but lack of enjoyment is a weak argument for doing away with the procedure. The null voters always seemed to me to be a bit naive both about what an ideal party should look like, as well as the likely results of their movement.