Democratic Revolutionary Party
The Democratic Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Democrático--PRD), established in 1989, evolved from the National Democratic Front (Frente Democrático Nacional--FDN), under the leadership of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. Cárdenas left the PRI in 1988 in protest over its choice of Salinas, a free-market reformer, as the PRI's presidential nominee. The PRD's party program emphasizes social welfare concerns and opposes most of the economic reforms implemented since the mid-1980s.
The PRD's agenda dates back to the populist and nationalist measures implemented by President Lázaro Cárdenas during the 1930s. The party promotes economic nationalism, as opposed to the structural neoliberal changes that focus on increasing trade and foreign investment to boost the Mexican economy introduced by the PRI during President de la Madrid's administration. Although the PRD holds a good part of the former communist and socialist parties' rank and file, the PRD is controlled by former PRI leaders. An estimated 70 percent of its leadership consists of former PRI members, while 30 percent consists of former members of the Mexican communist and socialist parties. The PRD president, Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, served as president of the PRI during the sexenio of Luis Echeverría Álvarez. The PRD opposed most of the constitutional amendments passed during the Salinas government, the most important being the ecclesiastical, agrarian, and electoral system reforms. Although the PRD is currently recognized as an opposition voice in the national debate, it remains in a distant third place in the electoral scenario. Toward the end of the 1994 presidential race, the left strongly criticized Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas for having lent qualified support to the broad principles of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the privatization of some state-owned companies. Despite these changes, Cárdenas and the PRD are committed to greater state control of the economy and propose the renegotiation of parts of NAFTA with the United States and Canada.
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