By KELIN DILLON
On Wednesday, April 20, Mexican legislator and president of the Political Coordination Board of the Senate, Ricardo Monreal – the namesake for one of in-power political party the National Regeneration Movement’s (Morena) controversial pieces of legislation – called on his fellow party members during Wednesday’s plenary session to “stop the lynching campaign” against opposition parties for Morena’s recent failure to pass its electricity reform through the Chamber of Deputies with a two-thirds majority – which, in a characteristically Morena fashion, has resulted in massive public aggression campaign against Morena’s opponents.
As Morena’s upper house Senate leader, Monreal asked his fellow party members to respect opposition legislators’ constitutional right to not be reprimanded for their voting choices – a route fellow Morena member and the party’s general secretary, Senator Citlalli Hernández, has taken with her campaign against so-called “traitors to the homeland” as the party’s exposed internal conflict continues to mount.
“She knows what she is doing and I have respect for her. But the call is general: Let us seek paths of rational understanding, not paths of sterile confrontation. If we allow these type of strategies, they can turn out to be paths of no return,” said Monreal, highlighting the need to remain cordial with opposition members in order to maintain further legislative collaboration opportunities down the road.
“The opposition themselves tell me, ‘How can you ask me for this or that if I only receive this type of offense?’ It is an underlying theme,” Monreal continued. “That is what is causing me difficulties in the construction of qualified majorities. What I tell them, and although sometimes some of our colleagues get upset, is that we need them to build qualified majorities.”
He went on to say that “in a parliament, there are always going to be differences.”
“The members don’t all have to vote in the same way, because a parliament represents the plurality of the country. and we don’t all think the same,” he said. “That’s why elections exist.”
The Morena legislator likewise referred to Morena’s loss of more than 50 seats in the Chamber of Deputies during the June 2021 midterm elections – a clear loss of confidence among Mexico’s efficacious voters.
Monreal’s words stand in stark contrast to those of Morena party President Mario Delgado. Doubling down on his views, Delgado used Wednesday as yet another opportunity to brand opposition members as “traitors of the country” once again.
“The sovereignty of Mexico depends on the state maintaining control of sectors such as energy, and wanting to hand it over to the transnationals represents a clear betrayal of the country,” said Delgado, continuing to justify Morena’s verbal branding of the opposition as “peaceful” and “without hate in our hearts.”
Meanwhile, members of the Party of Institutional Revolution (PRI) – one of Morena’s most prominent opponents in Mexico’s legislative bodies – asked their fellow legislators to “not to confuse freedom of expression with political violence.”
Considering Morena figurehead and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) repeated public attacks against any and all of his opponents – whether political, from the press or even entire countries – it’s not difficult see how the executive’s open disdain for dissenters has trickled down into the behavior of his fellow Morenistas.
Incensed as ever against this perceived betrayal, AMLO himself took to his Thursday, April 21, press conference to continue the backlash against the legislators who shot down his reform’s passage, going so far as to threaten to add to the country’s Penal Code to arbitrarily change the legal definition of treason as a result of the unfavorable vote.
“A prison sentence of five to 40 years and a fine of up to 50,000 pesos to the Mexican who commits treason against the homeland in any of the following ways: Performing acts against its independence, sovereignty or integrity of the Mexican nation with the purpose of submitting it to a foreign person, group or government,” said López Obrador. “That is in the Penal Code. So, if (the opposition party members) feel that they acted well and are not traitors to Mexico, what are they worried about?”
While AMLO admitted to some polarization within the Mexican political system, the executive – performing yet another signature pivot away from accountability and self-awareness – deflected blame away from Morena by claiming that “there is more polarization in the United States than here in Mexico.”