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March 3, 2006

Mexican presidential election forum at Stanford to examine future of democracy

Leading Mexican historians, politicians and journalists will analyze the country's upcoming presidential elections at an all-day event titled "2006 Mexican Presidential Elections: A Challenge for Democracy" on Saturday, March 11, in Kresge Auditorium on the Stanford University campus.

The forum, which is free and open to the public, will be in Spanish with simultaneous English translation. Mexicanos at Stanford and the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists are the main sponsors of the event.

The July presidential election will be the first since 2000, when PAN (National Action Party) candidate Vicente Fox defeated the ruling PRI (Revolutionary Institutional Party) regime, which had been in power for 71 years. Polls show that center-left PRD (Democratic Revolution Party) candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador is in front, followed by Felipe Calderón from the center-right PAN and Roberto Madrazo of the centrist PRI. During the forum, experts will discuss whether Mexico will continue moving towards a democracy or join other Latin American countries in a shift to the left, and how this could affect its relationship with the United States. Participants also will discuss problems faced by Mexican immigrants attempting to vote with absentee ballots for the first time in presidential elections.


8:30 a.m. Opening

8:45 a.m. Welcome: Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

9 a.m. Keynote Address: "Civic Initiatives Towards the Presidential Elections of 2006," presented by Enrique Krauze, political analyst, historian and writer; director of Letras Libres; and coordinator of Editorial Clío

10:15 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m. Panel: "The Media in the 2006 Electoral Process"

During the last two decades, the media in Mexico has shifted from acting as the spokesperson of the ruling political regime to supporting different trends, opinions and ideologies. The success of the upcoming elections process may depend on the quality, impartiality and professionalism of the media. The panel will analyze the upcoming elections in terms of how the media's role has changed since 2000 and what issues continue to pose challenges.


Roy Campos, president of Consulta Mitofsky, a survey research company

Javier Corral, PAN senator and coordinator of the Special Commission for the Reform of the Electronic Media

Marco Gómez, Instituto Federal Electoral adviser and president of the Commission of Prerogatives, Political Parties and Broadcasting

Leopoldo Gómez, vice president of Televisa News

Moderator: Leo Zuckermann, professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas A.C.

Noon. Lunch break

2-3:30 p.m. Panel: "The electoral agenda of the political parties"


Saúl Escobar, foreign policy coordinator, PRD

Rosario Green, general secretary, National Executive Committee, PRI

Héctor Larios, senator, PAN

Moderator: Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Stanford assistant professor of political science


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