ⓘ National Action Party (Mexico)


ⓘ National Action Party (Mexico)

The National Action Party, founded in 1939, is a conservative political party in Mexico, one of the four main political parties in Mexico. Since the 1980s, it has been an important political party winning local, state, and national elections. In 2000, PAN candidate Vicente Fox was elected president for a six-year term; in 2006, PAN candidate Felipe Calderon succeeded Fox in the presidency. During the period 2000–2012, PAN was the strongest party in both houses of the Congress of the Union but lacked a majority in either house. In the 2006 legislative elections the party won 207 out of 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 52 out of 128 Senators. In the 2012 legislative elections, the PAN won 38 seats in the Senate, and 114 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The members of this party are colloquially called Panistas.


1.1. History Founding

The National Action Party was founded in 1939 by Manuel Gomez Morin, who had held a number of important government posts in the 1920s and 1930s. He saw the need for the creation of a permanent political party rather than an ephemeral organization to oppose the expansion of power by the post-revolutionary Mexican state. When Gomez Morin was rector of UNAM between 1933 and 1935, the government attempted to impose socialist education. In defending academic freedom, Gomez Morin forged connections with individuals and groups that later came together in the foundation of the PAN in September 1939. The Jesuit student organization, Union Nacional de Estudiantes Catolicos UNEC, provided a well-organized network of adherents who successfully fought the imposition of a particular ideological view by the state. Gomez Morin was not himself a militant Catholic, but he was a devout believer who rejected liberalism and individualism. In 1939, Gomez Morin and a significant number of UNECs leadership came together to found the PAN. The PANs first executive committee and committees on political action and doctrine also had former Catholic student activists, including Luis Calderon Vega, the father of Felipe Calderon, who was elected President of Mexico in 2006. The PANs" Doctrine of National Action” was strongly influenced by Catholic social doctrine articulated in Rerum novarum 1891 and Quadragesimo anno 1931 and rejected Marxist models of class warfare. The PANs newspaper, La Nacion was founded by another former UNEC member, Carlos Septien Garcia.

Efrain Gonzalez Luna, a former member of the Mexican Catholic Student Union Nacional de Estudiantes Catolicos UNEC, a long-time militant Catholic and practicing lawyer from Guadalajara, helped broker the partys informal alliance with the Catholic Church. However, the relationship between the PAN and the Catholic Church was not without tension. The partys founder Gomez Morin was leery of clerical oversight of the party, although its members were mainly urban Catholic professionals and businessmen. For its part, the Church hierarchy did not want to identify itself with a particular political party, since the Constitution of 1917 forbade it. In the 1950s, the PAN, which had been seen to be Catholic in its makeup, became more ideologically secular.


1.2. History Electoral results

The PAN initially was a party of" civic example”, an independent loyal opposition that generally did not win elections at any level. However, in the 1980s it began a transformation to a political power, beginning at the local and state levels in the North of Mexico. A split in the PAN occurred in 1977, with the pro-Catholic faction and the more secular wing splitting. The PAN had updated its positions following Vatican II, toward a greater affinity for the poor; however, more traditional Catholics were critical of that stance and nonreligious groups were also in opposition, since they wanted the party to be less explicitly Catholic and draw in more urban professionals and business groups, who would vote for a nonreligious opposition party. The conflict came to a head, and in 1977 the progressive Catholic wing left the party. The party ran no presidential candidate in 1976.

The PAN had strength in Northern Mexico and its candidates had won elections earlier on, but these victories were small in comparison to those of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. In 1946, PAN members Miguel Ramirez Munguia Tacambaro, Michoacan, Juan Gutierrez Lascurain Federal District, Antonio L. Rodriguez Nuevo Leon and Aquiles Elorduy Garcia Aguascalientes became the first four federal deputies from the opposition in post-revolutionary Mexico. The following year Manuel Torres Serrania from Quiroga, Michoacan became the partys first municipal president and Alfonso Hernandez Sanchez from Zamora, Michoacan its first state deputy. In 1962, Rosario Alcala Aguascalientes became the first female candidate for state governor and two years later Florentina Villalobos Chaparro Parral, Chihuahua became the first female federal deputy. In 1967 Norma Villarreal de Zambrano San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon became the first female municipal president.

Until the 1980s, the PAN was a weak opposition party that was considered pro-Catholic and pro-business, but never garnered many votes. Its strength, however, was that it was pro-democracy and pro-rule of law, so that its political profile was in contrast to the dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party PRI that was widely and increasingly seen as corrupt. The PAN came to be viewed as viable opposition party for a wider range of voters as it became more secular and as Mexicans increasingly moved to cities. As the PAN increasingly called for end of fraud in Mexican elections, it appealed to a wider range of people.

In 1988, the newly created Assembly of Representatives of the Federal District had, for the first time, members of the PAN. In 1989, Ernesto Ruffo Appel Baja California became the first opposition governor. Two years later, his future successor in the Baja California government, Hector Teran Teran, became the first federal senator from the PAN. From 1992 to 2000, PAN candidates won the elections for governorships in Guanajuato, Chihuahua, Jalisco, Queretaro, Nuevo Leon, Aguascalientes, Yucatan and Morelos.


1.3. History Electoral victory for the presidency, 2000

In the 2000 presidential elections, the candidate of the Alianza por el Cambio "Alliance for Change", formed by the PAN and the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico PVEM, Vicente Fox Quesada won 42.5% of the popular vote and was elected president of Mexico. Fox was the first opposition candidate to defeat the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party PRI and its precursors after 71 years. It was a significant victory not only for the PAN, but Mexican democracy.

In the senate elections of the same date, the Alliance won 46 out of 128 seats in the Senate. The Alliance broke off the following year and the PVEM has since participated together with the PRI in most elections.

In the 2003 mid-term elections, the party won 30.74% of the popular vote and 153 out of 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. In 2003, the PAN lost the governorship of Nuevo Leon to the PRI and, the following year, failed to win back the state of Chihuahua from the PRI. Coupled with a bitterly fought election in Colima that was cancelled and later re-run, these developments were interpreted by some political analysts to be a significant rejection of the PAN in advance of the 2006 presidential election. In contrast, 2004 did see the PAN win for the first time in Tlaxcala, in a state that would not normally be considered PAN territory, although its candidate was a member of the PRI until a few months before the elections. It also managed to hold on to Queretaro by a mere 3% margin against the PRI and Aguascalientes although in 2007, it lost most of the municipalities and the local Congress to the PRI. However, in 2005 the PAN lost the elections for the state government of Mexico State and Nayarit to the PRI. The former was considered one of the most important elections in the country because of the number of voters involved, which is higher than the elections for head of government of the Federal District. See: 2003 Mexican elections, 2004 Mexican elections and 2005 Mexican elections for results.

Significantly in the 2006 presidential election in 2006, the PAN candidate Felipe Calderon was elected to succeed Vicente Fox. Calderon was the son of one of the founders of the PAN, and was himself a former party president. He was selected as the PANs candidate, after beating his opponents Santiago Creel Secretary of the Interior during Foxs term and Alberto Cardenas former governor of Jalisco in every voting round in the party primaries. On July 2, 2006, Felipe Calderon secured a plurality of the votes cast. Finishing less than one percent behind was Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who challenged the results of the election on possible grounds of electoral fraud. In addition to the presidency, the PAN won 206 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 52 in the Senate, securing it the largest single party blocs in both houses.

In 2007, the PAN lost the governorship and the majority in the state congress of Yucatan to the PRI as well as the municipal presidency of Aguascalientes, but kept both the governorship and the majority in the state congress of Baja California. The PRI also obtained more municipal presidents and local congresspeople in Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Chiapas and Oaxaca. The PRD obtained more posts than the PAN in Zacatecas, Chiapas and Oaxaca.

In 2009, the PAN held 33 seats in the Senate and 142 seats in the Chamber of deputies.


1.4. History Return of the PRI to presidency

In 2012, the PAN lost the Presidential Election to Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI. They also won 38 seats in the Senate a gain of 3 seats, and 114 seats in the Chamber of Deputies a loss of 28 seats. The government of president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto EPN has faced multiple scandals, and allegations of corruption. Reforma who has run a surveys of presidential approval since 1995, revealed EPN had received a mere 12% approval rating, the lowest since they started to survey for presidential approval. The second lowest approval was for the Ernesto Zedillo 1994-2000, also from the PRI. It also revealed that both presidents elected from National Action Party PAN, Vicente Fox 2000-2006 and Felipe Calderon 2006-2012, both had higher presidential approvals than the PRI presidents.


2. Ideology

The PAN has been linked to a conservative stance in Mexican politics since its inception, but the party does not consider itself a fundamentally conservative party. The party ideology, at least in principle, is that of "National Action" which rejects a fundamental adherence to left- or right-wing politics or policies, instead requiring the adoption of such policies as correspond to the problems faced by the nation at any given moment. Thus both right- and left-wing policies may be considered equally carefully in formulation of national policy.

This theory of National Action politics, rejecting a fundamental adherence to right or left, is held within a strongly Christian context, and falls under the umbrella of Christian democracy.

The party theory was largely developed by early figures such as Gomez Morin and his associates. However, some observers consider the PAN claim to National Action politics to be weakened by the apparent persistent predominance of conservatism in PAN policy in practice. The PAN has similarities with Europe and Latin Americas Christian democratic parties.


2.1. Ideology Economic policies

The PAN currently occupies the right of Mexicos political spectrum, advocating free enterprise, pragmatism, small government, privatization and libertarian reforms as well. The PAN is a member of the Christian Democrat Organization of America. In general, PAN claims to support free enterprise and thus free trade agreements.


2.2. Ideology Abortion

Carlos Abascal, secretary of the interior in the latter part of the Fox administration, called emergency contraception a "weapon of mass destruction" in July 2005. It was during Foxs term, however, that the "morning-after" pill was legalized, even though the Church had condemned the use of these kind of pills, calling them "abortion pills".

The PAN produced a television spot against state-financed abortion, one that features popular comedian Chespirito who was also featured on a TV spot promoting Vicente Fox in the 2000 presidential elections and a second one that accuses the PRI and PRD of wanting to kill the unborn. After the abortion bill, which made abortion available, anonymous, and free or government-paid, was approved at the local legislature, the PAN requested the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District CDHDF to enact actions on the unconstitutionality of the measure, the CDHDF rejected the request as it found no basis of unconstitutionality. After unsuccessfully appealing to unconstitutionality, the PAN declared that it may request the remotion of Emilio Alvarez Icaza, the president of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District, for his lack of moral quality. The PAN, with the members of the Association of Catholic Lawyers, gathered signatures and turned them in to the Federal District Electoral Institute IEDF to void the abortion bill and force a referendum, which was also rejected by the IEDF. In May 2007, the PAN started a campaign to encourage rejections to perform abortion amongst doctors in the Federal District based on conscience.


2.3. Ideology Opposition to same-sex unions in Mexico

The PAN has opposed measures to establish civil unions in Mexico City and Coahuila. On November 9, 2006, the government of the Federal District approved the first law establishing civil unions in Mexico. The members of the PAN, and a member of New Alliance were the only legislators that voted against it.

The same year, the local legislature of Coahuila approved the law of civil unions to which the PAN also opposed. The PAN also lodged an unconstitutionality plea before the Supreme Court of Justice of the State of Coahuila, alleging that the constitution has vowed to protect the institution of the family.

Guillermo Bustamente Manilla, a member of the PAN and the president of the National Parents Union UNPF is the father of Guillermo Bustamante Artasanchez, a law director of the Secretary of the Interior, Carlos Abascal, during Foxs presidency and worked in the Calderon administration against abortion and same-sex civil unions. He called the latter as "anti-natural." He has publicly asked voters not to cast votes for "abortionist" parties and those who are in favor of homosexual relationships.


3. Party Presidents

  • Marko Antonio Cortes Mendoza 2018–present
  • Alfonso Ituarte Servin 1956-1958
  • Jose Gonzalez Torres 1958-1962
  • Cecilia Romero Castillo 2014
  • Ricardo Anaya Cortes 2015–2017 1
  • Manuel Gonzalez Hinojosa 1969-1972
  • Ricardo Anaya Cortes 2014–2015
  • Luis H. Alvarez 1987-1993
  • Felipe Calderon Hinojosa 1996-1999
  • Adolfo Christlieb Ibarrola 1962-1968
  • Ignacio Limon Maurer 1968-1969
  • Avel Vicencio Tovar 1978-1984
  • Gustavo Madero Muñoz 2010-2014
  • Raul Gonzalez Schmall 1975 interim
  • Damian Zepeda Vidales 2017-2018
  • Manuel Gonzalez Hinojosa 1975-1978
  • Juan Gutierrez Lascurain 1949-1956
  • German Martinez Cazares 2007-2009
  • Manuel Gomez Morin 1939-1949
  • Pablo Emilio Madero 1984-1987
  • Cesar Nava Vazquez 2009-2010
  • Marcelo Torres Cofiño 2018
  • Carlos Castillo Peraza 1993-1996
  • Luis Felipe Bravo Mena 1999-2005
  • Manuel Espino Barrientos 2005-2007
  • Efrain Gonzalez Morfin 1975 1
  • Gustavo Madero Muñoz 2015
  • Jose Angel Conchelo Davila 1972-1975

1 Resigned to run for president


4. Bibliography

  • Loaeza, Soledad. El Partido de Accion Nacional: La larga marcha, 1939-1994: Oposicion leal y partido de protesta. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economico 1999.
  • Chand, Vikram K. Mexicos Political Awakening, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press 2001.
  • Von Sauer, Franz A. The Alienated "Loyal" Opposition: Mexicos Partido de Accion Nacional. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1974.
  • Loaeza, Soledad. "Partido de Accion Nacional." In Encyclopedia of Mexico, vol. 2, pp. 1048–1052. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997.
  • Shirk, David A. "Mexicos New Politics: The PAN and Democratic Change" Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers 2005.
  • Espinosa, David. Jesuit Student Groups, the Universidad Iberoamericana, and Political Resistance in Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2014.
  • Nuncio, Abraham. El PAN: Alternativa de poder o instrumento de la oligarquia empresarial. Mexico: Editorial Nuevo Imagen 1986.
  • Mabry, Donald J. Mexicos Accion Nacional: A Catholic Alternative to Revolution. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press 1973.
  • Ward, Peter. "Policy Making and Policy Implementation among Non-PRI Government: The PAN in Ciudad Juarez and in Chihuahua." In Victoria E. Rodriguez and Peter M. Ward, Opposition Government in Mexico pp. 135–52. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1995.