Letter: Mexico's model political system

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Sir: Phil Davison states that Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party most resembles "the old Soviet Communist Party" due to its long- standing rule (8 May). This fails to acknowledge that for more than 20 years Mexicans have built a strong system of political parties and have enacted an electoral legislation that combines first-past-the-post with proportional representation - which the UK is only beginning to explore.

Mexico's constitution prevents any single party from being over-represented by more than 9 per cent. In order to secure a majority of 251 seats (out of 500) a party must have received at least 42 per cent of the vote. For the past two general elections - and in nearly 50 local ones - no serious irregularities have emerged, and all political parties now have fair access to the media, with an independent judiciary as the supreme electoral authority. The fruits of these reforms are there for all to see: over 35 million Mexicans live in states ruled by parties other than the one which has retained the majority at the national level, in clear recognition of local political trends.

I must also point out that the mayor of Mexico City has never been, as Mr Davison suggests, "hand-picked" by the ruling party. Indeed, the fact that the inhabitants of Mexico City are about to elect their Governor should confirm the depth of the reforms carried out under President Zedillo's administration.

SANTIAGO ONATE

Ambassador, Embassy of Mexico

London W1

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