Current Trends in Mexican Federalism

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Abstract

Coercive federalism is a type of federal political system in which the central government acquires an excessive relevance over the power of the states, detracts from their decisions, and imposes unilateral policies on them. Since 2018, the federal administration in Mexico has largely centralized public policy decisions that were previously implemented in coordination with the states. The federal government has also stripped the states of a range of powers that correspond to them in their internal affairs. In addition, direct transfers to citizens have increased, discretionary spending for the states has decreased, and investment in infrastructure at the subnational level has declined. All of this has led to a central policy of austerity and the weakening of the political and administrative systems of intergovernmental cooperation. This article analyzes the various decisions of the federal government that have weakened the power of subnational administrations. The foregoing is considered by the specialized literature as characterizing a coercive federal system. The study was carried out through an analytical–descriptive method regarding the decisions and actions of the federal government, from 2018 to 2021. It found that the federal administration has engaged in various coercive practices of power to the detriment of the states and municipalities. Finally, the Constitution has been interpreted too flexibly, weakening the federal pact and the proper exercise of democracy.