Federal Electoral Institute (IFE)

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Federal Electoral Institute (IFE)

The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE; Insituto Federal Electoral) of Mexico is an independent agency responsible for the federal election process. The IFE is a publicly funded agency, independent of the government, responsible for organizing federal elections for president, the Chamber of Deputies, and the Senate. The IFE emerged from the Federal Code of Electoral Institutions and Procedures (COFIPE) legislation in 1990. Three major revisions of this code contributed to IFE's current responsibilities and structure. The 1993 reform gave the Institute the power to validate the elections and to establish campaign spending limits. The 1994 reform increased the importance of independent citizen members, giving them the majority of votes over partisan representatives. The 1996 reform, the most influential, separated the IFE from the executive branch and assigned all decisions to a body of independent citizen members.

IFE's most important functions, all designed to achieve a fair, honest, and democratic electoral process, include registering voters and certifying voting credentials, staffing voting booths with trained volunteers, establishing voting lists of eligible voters for each balloting precinct, printing and distributing ballots and other materials, counting the results, and regulating other aspects of the electoral process. There are also local and district councils.

The IFE has played a central role in making Mexican elections more competitive and honest since 1994. Its most controversial decisions were in response to the contested presidential election of 2006. Felipe Calderón, the winner, won by fewer than 250,000 votes, and the losing candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, alleged fraud, calling for a recount. In the case of a legal appeal, the decision is passed on to the Federal Electoral Tribunal (TRIFE). Despite the controversy surrounding this election, IFE and the Federal Electoral Tribunal are viewed positively by most Mexicans.

See alsoLópez Obrador, Manuel Andrés .


IFE. Available from http://www.ife.org.mx. Includes an option for English version.

Domínguez, Jorge I., and Chappell H. Lawson, eds. Mexico's Pivotal Democratic Election: Candidates, Voters, and the Presidential Campaign of 2000. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.

                                       Roderic Ai Camp

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Federal Electoral Institute (IFE)

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Federal Electoral Institute (IFE)