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By John J. Bailey

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Sample text

Four of the five Presidents since 1946 had served as Interior Secretary, and the team-building had the effect of stabilising the succession. Maya's political strength and skill were not his only liabilities; he also was connected with the alemanista faction of the party, whose influence Echeverria was probably not eager to reinforce. Echeverria's choice of Lopez Portillo, Secretary of Treasury, was both unorthodox and harmful to the political class. It also had the effect of politicising the Treasury Secretariat, which had remained on the margin of the succession struggles.

Among these were the Northerners, principally from Sonora and Coahuila, including the first Revolutionary presidents: Venustiano Carranza (1917-20), Alvaro Obregon (1920-24) and Plutarco Elias Calles (1924-28). New forces appeared with such nascent labour unions as the Casa del Obrero Mundial, peasant leagues, and new business-commercial groups, often from the ranks of the victorious soldier-entrepreneurs. In completing the classic revolutionary cycle, new institutions were created. The ideological and legal basis of the new order was 14 Governing Mexico established in the Constitution of 1917, which added nationalist and social welfare dimensions to the liberal foundations of the 1857 constitution.

Miguel de Ia Madrid inherited a debilitated system in the midst of Mexico's worst crisis since 1929. Perhaps the De Ia Madrid government should be judged less for dramatic results than for its effort to sustain difficult austerity programmes and to prepare the ground for the succeeding government. Nevertheless, the perceived failure of the President's anti-corruption campaign and his image of indecisiveness have undermined further the credibility of the system. LOGIC OF MEXICO'S PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM Mexican political leaders after 1929 constructed a highly centralised polity with the presidency at the epicentre.

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