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Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)

Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)

The Democratic Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Democrático, PRD) is one of the three main political parties in Mexico. The PRD was established in 1989 after the surprising success of the 1988 electoral challenge by Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, who ran second as a presidential candidate representing a coalition of small left-wing parties. Cárdenas, a former government official, and Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, a former president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), were the key leaders in founding the party, an amalgam of leftist parties and dissident members from the reformist wing of the PRI, who split during the 1987–1988 presidential succession battles within the government leadership. The PRD has become the major left-of-center party, and one of the three competitive parties nationally, providing a populist, prostatist platform. In addition to its opposition to many of the government's economic liberalization reforms, it has been the most vociferous advocate of political competition pluralization prior to the critical 2000 presidential campaign. It recruits its leadership in larger numbers from the working class than the other two major parties do.

The PRD achieved its greatest electoral victory among candidates taking office in the 1997–2000 congress, but Cárdenas, its standard bearer in the 1994 presidential race, came in third in the presidential election. In 2000 Cárdenas campaigned as the party's presidential candidate a third time, coming in a distant third in an election that brought Vicente Fox and the National Action Party (PAN) to power nationally. The party has suffered from numerous divisions; nevertheless it has strengthened the left substantially through greater national unity and deeper grassroots organizing. It has the smallest partisan support and is the least well-represented at the state level, measured by the number of governorships it has won. In the 2006 presidential race, it put forth Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the front-runner for most of the race, who lost by less than half a percent of the vote. López Obrador did not increase the party's long-term partisan supporters, but dramatically strengthened their presence in the 2006–2009 congress.

See alsoCárdenas Solorzano, Cuauhtémoc; López Obrador, Manuel Andrés; Muñoz Ledo Lazo de la Vega, Porfirio.


Bruhn, Kathleen. Taking on Goliath: The Emergence of a New Left Party and the Struggle for Democracy in Mexico. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.

Gómez López, Alicia. Juegos políticos: Las estrategias del PAN y del PRD en la transición mexicana. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2003.

Reveles Vázquez, Francisco, ed. Partido Revolucionario Institucional: Crisis y refundación. México, D. F.: Gernika, 2003.

                                     Roderic Ai Camp

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