In July 1997, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas became the first elected mayor of Mexico City. Before his election, the President of the Republic appointed the mayor. In essence, the federal government controlled the city, historically the center of cultural, political, and economic power of the nation.
Today, Chilangos elect the mayor, considered the second most powerful political position in Mexico behind the presidency. Running as a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, Cárdenas' victory was a major blow to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had governed Mexico since the 1920s. In 1999, Cárdenas resigned his post to run for the presidency in 2000. Rosario Robles Berlanga was appointed to the post, becoming the first woman mayor of the city.
Mexico City is made up of 16 districts. Each district is headed by a delegado or district head, appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Federal District's Legislative Assembly. Each district is in charge of providing services for its citizens.