National Action Party (Mexico)

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The National Action Party (Spanish: Partido Acción Nacional), known by the acronym PAN, is a conservative party and one of the three main political parties in Mexico.

Mexican Roman Catholics, together with other conservatives, founded the PAN in 1939 after the cristero insurgency lost the Cristero War. They were looking for a peaceful way to bring about change in the country and to achieve political representation, after the years of chaos and violence that followed the Mexican Revolution. The turning point in the Cristero War was when the Catholic Church reached an agreement with the National Revolutionary Party – the forerunner of the monolithic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that dominated power for most of the 20th century – whereunder it turned a blind eye to the lack of democracy in the country and stopped supporting the Catholic rebels, threatening its members with excommunication if they disobeyed the government.

The PAN spent the years from its foundation in 1939 in opposition, as all presidents since the end of the Mexican Revolution were from the PRI or its variously named predecessors. This changed on July 2, 2000, when Vicente Fox Quesada of the PAN won the presidential election.

The PAN occupies the right of Mexico's political spectrum, advocating free enterprise, reduced taxes, smaller government, and reform of the welfare state. It is much like the United States Republican Party or Europe's Christian Democratic parties, and many of its members are also advocates of Roman Catholicism. The PAN officially claims to be a non-confessional party in a country that is 90% Catholic; however, while on the campaign trail in 2000, Vicente Fox appeared holding a banner emblazoned with the revered icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe – and was fined MXN $20,000 for mixing religion and politics.

In certain extreme cases, individual PAN mayors and governors have banned public employees from using miniskirts (Guadalajara, Jalisco), clamped down on the use of profanity in public marketplaces (Santiago de Querétaro), and – in one particularly notorious case in the northern state of Baja California – brought extreme religious and political pressure to bear on a teenaged rape victim to dissuade her from terminating her pregnancy, as she was legally entitled to do. Such extreme stances are not, however, shared by many of the PAN's middle-class rank and file members, who traditionally saw supporting the party as the best way of preventing the hated PRI from remaining in power.

The party is led by Manuel Espino Barrientos (2005).

On July 4, 2004, the PAN lost several important state elections, including governorship elections in the states of Zacatecas, Chihuahua, and Durango, to candidates from the PRI and PRD. Coupled with defeats in other gubernatorial elections in 2003 (particularly the northern industrial powerhouse of Nuevo León, and a bitterly fought election in Colima that was cancelled and later re-run), this development was considered by some political analysts to be a significant repudiation of the PAN in advance of the 2006 presidential election. The defeat was considered especially severe in Chihuahua because that state was where PAN won its first electoral victories in 1983, when PAN mayoral candidates won in the border city of Ciudad Juárez and state capital Chihuahua. In contrast, 2004 did see the PAN win for the first time in Tlaxcala, defeating the PRD in a state that would not normally be considered PAN homeland; it also managed to hold on to Querétaro and Aguascalientes. (See: 2003 Mexican elections and 2004 Mexican elections for results.)

External links

See also

es:Partido Acción Nacional de México fr:Partido Acción Nacional

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