By RICARDO CASTILLO
It is just now that we are witnessing the devastating political tsunami the victory of now-Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) wrought on the nation’s political system and the parties that competed in the 2018 presidential election.
AMLO’s party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), swept the election with 53 percent of the vote, while his nearest competitor was Ricardo Anaya, from a coalition of the National Action Party (PAN), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Citizen’s Movement (MC), who netted 24 percent of the vote. The then-still-governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – along with the National Alliance (Panal) and the Green Party garnered a mere 16 percent of the vote, while independent candidate and then-Nuevo León Governor Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez got just 6 percent.
But the figures of last year seem to say little today as parties try to recompose themselves and stay alive in the Mexican political arena. With the coalitions of 2018 now gone, each party is on its own. Recently, we witnessed the PRI elect its new president, now former Campeche Governor Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas, who splintered even further the already-broken old party that had ruled the nation for 70 consecutive years from 1930 through 2000. Most opposing candidates claimed that Moreno Cárdenas rigged the election with the help of still-ruling PRI governors across the nation in order to maintain whatever little political power they may have left.
But there is no question that the biggest loser of the electoral process was the PRD, which this past week announced it would cease to exist as the Party of the Democratic Revolution so as to form a new party to be called Futuro 21 once it enters into operations on its own next December.
What’s interesting in this new alliance of “AMLO oppositionists” – as they defined themselves in their meeting to announce the Futuro 21 political party — is how a bunch of once-unlikely bedfellows came to meet under one roof.
Perhaps most notorious was the presence of former Health Secretary and the former dean of the National Autonomous University of Mexico José Narro Robles, who quit the PRI just two months ago, prior to the party president election, because he claimed that he saw then it was rigged. Along with Narro came Siempre magazine editor and diehard PRI traditionalist Beatriz Pagés, also a surprise.
Then, also from other parties, came Gabriel Quadri, who ran for president for the National Alliance Party (Panal) in 2012, along with an odd sidekick, Rubén Aguilar, former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s press spokesman.
The naturals in the meeting were the group of what is now the dregs of the PRD: Guadalupe Acosta Naranjo and Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles, who formed the “tribe,” an ideological group known as “The Galilees.”
Other old PRD hags included “Los Chuchos” Ortega and Zambrano (Chucho is the nickname for a person named Jesús), former AMLO henchman Carlos Navarrete and, perhaps the most unpopular of them all, former Mexico City Mayor and current PRD Senator Miguel Ángel Mancera.
As for the PRD militants, they all joined AMLO in his four elections, for Mexico City mayor in 2000, for president during the 2006 and 2012 elections. It was after this that AMLO, and particularly “Los Chuchos,” had a bitter rift when they joined in December 2012 then-new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in their “Pact for Mexico,” which included the highly controversial plan to divest Pemex from the government. AMLO was irked by “The Galilees” and “Los Chuchos” and split from the PRD to form Morena and run for president for a third time.
What AMLO’s opponents did not foresee was the control AMLO had gained by then over the PRD militancy nationwide, which in throngs moved to Morena to back AMLO once again in opposition of Peña Nieto’s two staple programs, the Energy Reform and the Education Reform.
Furthermore, more PRD voters left the party to join Morena once now-former PRD president and air hostess union leader Alejandra Barrales joined the conservative PAN to back Ricardo Anaya for president – an ideological treason that helped the PRD disappear.
The rest is history and we know now where AMLO is at and where are the remnants of a demolished political party looking for a new name.
Futuro 21 will not quiet be “a new party,” Quadri explained during last week’s powwow of political orphans that Futuro 21 must take advantage along with the still-valid PRD registration.
“The registration already exists and it is the registration of the PRD,” he said. “The PRD has put at the service of this project its registration. We are not trying to form a political party from scratch, which is highly expensive and difficult. It seems to me that only interests with a great economic capability can afford the option of a new political party.”
Narro Robles, who quit the PRI after a 46-year-old militancy, said that the point to make now is the formation of a new political option, with a new model, vision, leadership and declaration of principles, and to show voters that “this is not merely a change of skin.”
“It’s about proving there is a change and that we’re committed to doing things in a different way,” he said, “and if we do, we will have reached the objective. If it is merely and change of epidermis (Narro is an MD), then let’s let it be. What has to change is the soul of things, not merely the the outside skin.”
Old PRD member and current AMLO political adversary Chucho Ortega said the new opposition is looking for people who have not previously belonged to any political party.
“But I’m certain that the majority of people joining Futuro 21 will be persons with no militancy in political parties and who have not yet participated in politics nor in the party system,” he said. “They are people who want to participate because now see the risk that a government like the one we currently have may rule in perpetuity.”
The only reality for this mishmash of politicos from other parties is that, as the old adage says, the PRD is dead, long live … Futuro 21?
Well, Futuro 21 is not yet a party, but, yes, the PRD is definitely dead.