The Washington, D.C.-based National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit grantmaking organization established in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions around the world, has awarded its annual Democracy Award to Mexican president Vicente Fox.
The NED board of directors voted to honor Fox in recognition of his historic election to Mexico's highest office, ending more than seven decades of single-party rule by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). The Democracy Award is given each year in recognition of the courageous and creative work of individuals and organizations that have advanced the cause of human rights and democracy around the world. Past recipients include Violeta Chamorro (Nicaragua), Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic), Vesna Pesic (Serbia), Elena Bonner (Russia), Martin Lee (Hong Kong), Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan (China), the Transition Monitoring Group (Nigeria), and Veton Surroi (Kosovo) and Natasa Kandic (Serbia).
"NED is proud to recognize the democratic milestone achieved by President Fox, but by honoring Vicente Fox, we also seek to honor the people of Mexico and the change they have embraced by choosing a new path and working toward a more open, more democratic future for their country," said NED president Carl Gershman. "President Fox's election is the crowning achievement of a broad-based civic movement that has been reforming Mexico's political system for much of the past decade."
In 1995, the organization presented the award to Sergio Aguayo, the leader of Mexico's Civic Alliance, a coalition of more than 400 civic groups that helped to open the country's electoral process in 1994.