By RICARDO CASTILLO
Hustle, tussle and lots of bustle is going on these days inside Mexico’s governing political party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) as it heads into its first true internal election for party leader on Nov. 20.
The paving of the road to election day is being carried out in the midst of disorder and messy district electoral conferences to decide the delegates who will be attending the convention. There are complaints all over the country about membership Also, other parties are allegedly sending disruptors to meetings who brawl when they find out their QR code registration doesn’t exist.
Considered to be Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) party, in January the president broke loose from its reign, requesting license from the party leadership to remain aloof from what he saw then – rightly so – as the upcoming political fray for the party’s presidency. But also because critics were claiming he was aiming at creating – once again in Mexico – a one-party dictatorship. His leave of absence from the Morena leadership quelled such criticism.
Up until now, Morena, founded in 2014 and definitely the nation’s youngest political party, has been presided over only by three people. Though founded by AMLO, the first president was now-Senator Martí Batres. Then AMLO himself presided over the party from 2015 to 2017, when he launched his candidacy for president. He left the party leadership in the hands of current president Yeidckol Polevnsky.
It must be said that none of the three previous and founding presidents was truly elected, but rather appointed by AMLO – who as leader and movement organizer, appointed himself as well – which leads all political commentators to believe that once the Morena election is over, he will hand pick his favorite candidate. AMLO has claimed he will just vote as a party member and let the majority decide which way the party will go.
It must also be said that the election to party head could lead — like at the end of a rainbow — to a political pot of gold that would be the possible nomination for the party-s presidential candidate in the 2024 presidential election, provided the leader guides the party well through the expectedly turbulent 2021 midterm elections. This prospect makes ambition rise and competition tough.
Running for the post are four founding members of the party, current president Yeidckol Polevnsky, a former State of Mexico senator and party militant who is now the target of all contenders and is often described by competitors as an ambitious politician who is incompetent for the job. Polevnsky, of course, thinks differently and claims that she was Morena president the day AMLO was elected.
Bertha Luján, who had been a Mexico City comptroller during AMLO’s days as mayor (2000-2006), is currently head of the Morena National Council, just one step below Polevnsky.
Mario Delgado, currently the Chamber of Deputies Morena majority whip, is an economist with a master’s from the University of Essex in England, and has worked under Marcelo Ebrard, now Foreign Relations secretary, and also, like AMLO, is a former Mexico City mayor, srving from 2012 through 2018.
And last but not least Is Alejandro Rojas, a alternate senator to Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal, who has gained popularity blasting the poor organization of the upcoming convention by Polevnsky and Luján. As a good organizer, Monreal is the best candidate, or so he says. After criticizing the two Morena leaders a few months ago, he was suspended from his party rights at Morena but was reinstituted by the Electoral Tribunal after he filed suit.
What is very clear is that the four candidates represent power groups within Morena, with two of them – the two ladies – having worked in government directly under the president. while the two men represent the interests of secretary Ebrard – a would-be potential presidential candidate – and Ricardo Monreal, who’d just love to be president, or the Morena candidate for the presidency of Mexico.
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, AMLO called upon all party members to use their intelligence in choosing their next candidate. AMLO, conscious that all hopefuls are pressing for votes, asked voters not to be a “Baaah,” he said, imitating a sheep.
This will be the first real election within the Morena political party, which shows that the party is still green in terms of mass organization and definitely, highly divided within.
Registered militant delegates – still in the process of being chosen and nominated — are definitely looking forward to this election, which will definitely mark the course of Morena’s political future.
Will the party remain as a consolidated political and social democrat electoral force, or will it fizzle away as fast as it was integrated in the years of 2013 and 2014?
And the main question is: Will the winner be AMLO’s handpicked victor?