By RICARDO CASTILLO
For four Mexican opposition political parties, it is the lull before the storm, scheduled for Sunday, June 5, when elections for governor will be held in six states.
For sure the leaders of those parties are keeping up the competitive spirit, claiming the candidates they support will come out victors, a hope contenders claim is wishful thinking. But then, crying victory before it happens is the stuff political campaigns are made of, until the hard vote gets counted and ice-cold reality sets in for the losers.
Mexico’s four major opposition parties are well known brands in the nation. By name, they are, in order of voting majority, the National Action Party (PAN), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRID) and the Citizens’ Movement (MC.) They have formed a coalition for the upcoming election called “Va Por México” (“It Goes for Mexico”).
Competing against It Goes for Mexico is the three-party coalition by the National Regeneration Movement, (Morena), the Labor Party (PT) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) under the banner of “We Make History Together.”
Recently, the It Goes for Mexico coalition showed strength and unity at the Chamber of Deputies, when the member parties pulled up a strong minority stonewall to stop Constitution-amending legislation on an electricity bill banning private participation in power production. The parties, however, had to use some outside help.
Private conservative businessmen Claudio X. González, Jr., namesake son of business entrepreneur and CEO of U.S. tissue manufacturer Kimberly Clark, summoned the leaders of the four opposition parties and led them to a floor vote, where they won a resounding, if not victory, at least show of power.
But since that vote last April until now, the four leaders of PAN, PRI, PRD and MC have gone their ways to tend electoral matters in the six states where they are facing difficulties to win, which are Aguascalientes, Durango, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas.
Through winning whatever they can salvage of the June 5 elections, the It Goes for Mexico foursome must seek a comfortable positioning, not just for the remaining two and a half years of this six-year term and the last two state elections (Coahuila and Chiapas), but by breezing through and positioning themselves for the Big One, La Grande, the 2024 presidential election.
The problem, according to sympathizers, is that the four leaders of the parties — Marco Cortez of the PAN, Alejandro Moreno of the PRI, Jesús Zambrano of the PRD and Dante Delgado of the MC — broke away suddenly from the coalition and Claudio X’s somewhat aloof leadership to mind their own business.
In a most unusual article published by the conservative newspaper El Financiero (which is a more political than financial publication) on Friday, May 20, lawyer Carlos Javier González blasted the dispositions of party leaders, saying that they “dwindle in size on a daily basis, growing more mediocre, smaller, more and more gray.”
The observation is valid as immediately after the Energy Reform victory, there was a belief that regardless of their ideological differences, the It Goes for Mexico coalition was a new opposition bloc and possibly a solid one to downsize the democratic setup down as close as possible to a two-party system, but that idea was short-lived as each of the leaders has gone his own way.
Another sign of division is that come the day to choose a presidential running candidate, each of the parties will be vying for their own candidate, dismantling the ephemeral unity effort to oust President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his so-called Fourth Transformation policies – which will eventually include drafting a new Constitution, if AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party and its allies stay in power.
“The way (the opposition leaders) are leading their parties, the 2024 election is about to turn into a field day for Morena and its following,” González wrote. “Those of us who had trusted that we had a serious and up-to-the-level-of-the-challenge opposition, are being advised that there simply isn’t any opposition, nor will there be.”
It should not be forgotten that the PRI and the PAN were both once the unequivocal majority.
But as cheerful spirits claim, hope springs eternal, and now the next step will be to wait and see the opposition’s reaction, whether destiny offers tham victory … or defeat.