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Separation of powers in new democracies: Federalism and the judicial power in Mexico.

Berruecos Garcia Travesi, Martha Susana (2010) Separation of powers in new democracies: Federalism and the judicial power in Mexico. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In the matter of a few decades, the Supreme Court in Mexico has gone from being a passive institution that served the interests of the federal executive to a genuine enforcer of law and the final arbiter in an increasing number of disputes over power and resources between different branches and levels of government. My thesis traces how and why this change happened and analyses the consequences of a more independent and active Court for the processes of federalism and democratisation in Mexico. My research contributes to a growing body of literature on the judicialisation of politics in Mexico. I analyse the ways in which a more genuine separation of powers has begun to take shape in Mexico. Specifically, I look at how a more independent Supreme Court has provided different government powers at the federal, state and municipal levels with a means of defending their respective jurisdictions against competing powers. While I focus on the Supreme Court, my research situates the judiciary within the wider web of government institutions; increased political pluralism has enabled the legislative branch and state and local governments to exercise stronger checks and balances on the federal executive, with attendant consequences for the emboldened Court when it comes to involvement in the policy-making process. At the core of my thesis is an empirical analysis of the Supreme Court's involvement in federalist issues via the use of constitutional controversies filed before the Court between 1995 and 2005 to resolve federal intragovernmental (between the three branches of government) and intergovernmental (between levels of government) disputes. The analysis operates on two levels: the national, and the subnational via an examination of legal recourses in seven case study states. It also looks at the role of the electoral tribunal in national and local election disputes. A wide variety of political actors are resorting to legal channels in order to resolve political deadlock. The Supreme Court in Mexico has had the last word on issues that range from the generation of electricity to indigenous rights. While my research focuses on Mexico, I compare judicial reform in Mexico with parallel processes in the other three presidential and federal systems in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela). Methodologically, my PhD thesis includes a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, including structured and semi-structured interviews and extensive documental research in public and private sector archives, as well as national and local newspapers and specialist magazines.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, Latin American Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Government

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