By RICARDO CASTILLO
It may be an inexact science, but it’s in the air in Mexico these days. In colloquial Spanish, it’s called “rumorología,” which literally translates in English to “rumor-ology.”
The flood of rumors preceding the upcoming Sunday, July 1, election is massive. The loudest rumor is that there is a mega-fraud in the making to put the “official” candidate José Antonio Meade in as the election winner “at any cost.”
This is happening even though President Enrique Peña Nieto has consistent claimed to have a “hands-off-the-election” policy and denied any government meddling in the process, which is run and organized by the independent non-government organization National Electoral Institute (INE.)
The problem with President Peña is his credibility. Polls have it that he is at a very low ebb in his popularity, with about 20 percent of Mexicans believing him. The rumor is that he’s got his hands deep into distorting the electoral process and plans to make Meade his successor.
What is not rumor but the real enchilada is concerns about what will happen if INE President Lorenzo Córdova announces on Sunday night that Meade won the election over the polls frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador. It will not come as a surprise that the result would be the unleashing of a bunch of hungry tigers, and containing them may not come easy since most Mexicans’ greatest desire is a clean democracy.
Rumors are labeled as fake news by the INE. First of all, the INE has a strict control over the printing of the ballots citizens will be handed over at voting time. All the ballot sheets have already been printed by a singe printing company located in the northern city of Chihuahua, an action that is intended to prevent ballot fraud.
Also shielding from ballot duplication or reprinting is the fact that the paper the ballots are printed on is unique and not of commercial use. Duplicity, says the INE, is impossible. We’ll see.
PARTIES CRACKING AT THE SEAMS
Another non-rumor is that there are concerns as to what will happen to several major political parties if the polls are right. Definitely, the outlook for these parties is not a good one.
First and foremost, Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will be in dire straits if Meade is defeated by López Obrador. It will definitely mark the end of a political dynasty as the PRI will be ripped to pieces at the seams.
The PRI has the finest political infrastructure in the nation. Yet in the recent past, it has needed the help of the National Action Party (PAN) and Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) to get Peña Nieto’s much-touted and highly controversial Energy and Education Reforms passed through Congress. Peña Nieto has had a good presidential ride thanks to their support.
But the PAN and the PRD are backing candidate Ricardo Anaya, who has repeatedly claimed he will toss Peña Nieto in the slammer if he is found guilty of corruption.
But the divide in these unlikely bedfellows is growing deeper and the two parties are collapsing, each on its own.
At the PRD, this very week party cofounder and leftwing economist Ifigenia Martínez resigned to her 29-year old militancy. She was a founding member along with Cuauhtemoc Cárdenas, Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, AMLO himself and Heberto Castillo.
Ifigenia’s reason for resigning – which may be a mortal blow to the PRD – is simple and ideological. She just does not see herself backing the candidacy of rightwinger Ricardo Anaya, and this coalition that the PAN and the PRD wrought makes no sense to her.
Readers of my past columns will recall that I pointed out that the PAN-PRD coalition just made no political sense using the cliché “unlikely bedfellows” on several occasions. Well, the bad news for PRD leaders Jesús Ortega and Jesús Zambrano – the two Chuchos – is that most militants may be stampeding to join AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena) as have already done several promiscuous – I mean prestigious – PRI senators have already done in the past couple of weeks.
And things are not right at the PAN either. The coalition concocted by presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya with the PRD does not sit well in the right either.
Just this past week, seven out of the 12 PAN state governors subtly separated themselves from Anaya’s candidacy. They published a paid ad in which they agree to form what may look like a new political organization called the Assembly of PAN Governors, who openly say they are willing to collaborate with whoever is legitimately elected president on Sunday.
Those signing the display ad are governors Martín Orozco of Aguascalientes, Carlos Mendoza Davis of Baja Sur, José Rosas Aispuro of Durango, José Antonio Gali of Puebla, Francisco Domínguez of Querétaro, Carlos Joaquin of Quintana Roo and Francisco Javier Cabeza de Vaca of Tamaulipas.
A clear sign that there is a rift at the PAN is the fact that five other PAN governors did not sign the document, namely Javier Corral of Chihuahua, Miguel Márquez of Guanajuato, Miguel Ángel Yunez of Veracruz, Francisco Vega of Baja California and Antonio Echevarria of Nayarit.
If this is not a rift at the seams of Mexico’s conservative and deeply Catholic Grand Old Party, founded in 1939, then what is?
If in fact these two parties do fall apart as a result of the election, it will definitely be very bad news for Mexican democracy.
Please read us again on Tuesday, July 2, when we’ll have a double-dip scoop on the results of the Mexico presidential election.