Whither elite cohesion in Mexico: a comment

by David Ronfeldt

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For decades Mexico has had a cohesive ruling elite known as the "revolutionary family," whose outstanding feature was its ability to encompass a wide range of personalities, interests, sectors, and ideological tendencies. That political elite is now undergoing dramatic transformation. This paper comments on some trends in the political elite and connections between elite change and institutional change in Mexico. The author considers three levels of change: (1) at the individual level, where there have been significant shifts in the background and recruitment profiles of new entrants into the elite; (2) at the group level, where individuals organize into "camarillas" and "equipos" around key leaders; and (3) at the overall "family" level, where the complexion and cohesion of the elite may be analyzed in terms of political "wings," "tendencies," and "currents." Finally, the author speculates about Mexico's political future, and outlines some issues that may enhance either cohesion or division during the next administration in Mexico.

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