Mexican “teachers’ leader” Elba Esther Gordillo. Photo: Yahoo.com

By RICARDO CASTILLO

Just as the dust is beginning to settle from last week’s approvals and denials fray of new national political parties by Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal (TEJPF), the National Electoral Institute (INE) carried out Sunday, Oct. 19, two pending elections that had been suspended due to the covid-19 pandemic in the states of Hidalgo and Coahuila.

INE President-Councilor Lorenzo Córdova made it clear that all precautions available are being taken to prevent covid-19 contagion among voters, “but the pandemic will not stop Mexican elections from happening now and next year.”

That said, let’s go back to last week’s fracas at the TEJFP, out of which the walking dead came out living, and the living dead are now shouting their lungs out.

Further down, I will deliver a list of parties and their affiliations, but let me start with two of them: one that provoked the noisiest protest and scandal and one that passed on silently while riding a rickety TEPJF rocking boat.

First, and noisiest decision was that of the TEPJF to ratify an earlier INE majority decision to deny the right to form a political party to former Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala and her husband, former President Felipe Calderón.

Their party, officially named Liberty and Democratic Responsibility but usually referred to as México Libre, was nixed for a second time for showing a surplus of donations worth 1.61 million pesos. The amount may not be very much, but the Calderóns could not justify the money, transferred to them through the app “Clip.” Clip was banned over a year ago for all parties to receive transfers of donations.

The former presidential couple was in disobedience, and paid the price. The decision cannot be appealed.

That did not stop Zavala and Calderón from scandalmongering by firing furious broadsides against the INE councilors, the TEPFJF’s majority of seven judges, and indirectly incriminating President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) for influencing the registration denial to México Libre.

AMLO fired back quickly on Friday, Oct. 16, during his daily press conference.

“We stayed on the fringes (of the registration denial) and that is part of the changes the nation is undergoing,” he said.

“In the past, presidents decided who to would be awarded a registration as a political party, as well as who would be candidates. That is now in the history trash dump. It does not apply anymore.”

In short, Felipe and Margarita are now politically defunct, at least for the next three years, but that did not stop them from raising a cloud of dust, which is now finally settling.

But if you ask around as to which was the TEPJF judges’ most scandalous approval decision, without batting an eye. most Mexicans will say it is that of the Progressive Social Networks Party (RSP).

Here’s why:

The visible president of the RSP is a man named Fernándo González Sánchez. In the Mexican political Who’s Who, González Sánchez is practically a nobody.

However, González Sánchez is the son-in-law of former National Education Workers Union (SNTE) Elba Esther Gordillo, once known — and feared — as the most powerful, treacherous and dangerous woman in Mexico.

A huge point of reference for denying Elba Esther’s son-in-law’s party registration would be that she just spent five years in jail following a murky political trial from which she was recently released.

Under the previous Enrique Peña Nieto administration, Gordillo was charged with stealing and pilfering union fees. But she now wields the power to be again on the official electoral ballot in the upcoming June 2021 election.

Previous to this Elba Esther, through her now-politically defunct daughter, had run the New Alliance Party (Panal, a word that also means beehive). which has also disappeared. A long history of Gordillo’s life in Mexican politics is described in a book published in 2008 called “Doña Perpetua,” which translates to “Madame Perpetual”. (Actually, I pulled the book out of a neighbors trash can.)

No doubt about it, she is back in Mexican political life, this time in perpetuity. And that is a political scandal in itself.

One political party that was ousted out of registration in the 2018 election is the Social Encounter Party (PES). The party did not net the minimum of votes to keep its registration.

PES leader Hugo Erick Flores Cervantes, however, did manage to garner enough deputies and senators to stay alive with the party platform. The party has great support among Protestant churches in Mexico, and that’s where it gathered strength to earn a second breath.

Another organization that was denied registration by the INE is Social Force for Mexico (FSM). This group. led by labor leader Pedro Haces Barba, has the backing of many small labor unions.

In celebrating the FSM registration, party president Gerardo Islas said, “we have proved that we managed registration in a clean way, which is the way we will always play.”

All in all, in there will be 10 official political parties registered to participate in the nationwide midterm elections, and that list will include the names of the PES, the RSP and the FSM.

…Oct. 19, 2020

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