By RICARDO CASTILLO
The dust from Mexico’s June 5 gubernatorial elections has not yet settled, but the government’s political opponents are all set for the next round with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
Last week, the opposition Va por México coalition — composed of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution — announced it was ready to block López Obrador’s next attempt to amend the Mexican Constitution, as it did on April 17, when it prevented the passage of his controversial electricity reform bill.
The three leaders of the Va por México coalition, Marko Cortés of the PAN, Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas of the PRI and Jesús Zambrano of the PRD, sent AMLO a blunt message that the fact that they did not do well in the gubernatorial electoral front (they won only two out of six races) did not mean he could tamper with the constitution at will.
The opposition has sufficient votes in Congress to stop his electoral reform bill.
But the fact is that AMLO is counting on the discontent provoked by the coalition’s poor polling on June 5 to get the bill passed.
He has stated that there will be an attrition of opposition deputies and senators to Morena or that some of these legislators will refrain from voting on the matter.
But Cortés, Cárdenas and Zambrano have said that they will stand united against the president’s electoral reform.
One of the main objectives of that reform is to replace the current autonomous National Electoral Institute (INE) with a new organization essentially appointed by the government and reporting directly to it.
AMLO has adamantly attacked the INE since taking office in December 2018, even slicing its budget by over 75 percent.
The reform would also do away with 200 plurinominal deputies, who appointed by
proportional representation but not through a direct vote, and to downsize state legislatures.
Va por México has rightly noted that this would give AMLO and Morena an even larger majority, allowing them to rewrite the constitution without considering the will of opposition voices, given that the entire purpose of the plurinominal deputies is to ensure representation of smaller parties.
Meanwhile, there are internal tensions within the three big opposition parties, most notably in the case of the PRI.
On Friday, June 10, Moreno Cárdenas received a summons from several PRI former presidents who want to talk to him about restructuring the party’s leadership.
Since he took over three years ago, the PRI has lost the governorships of 12 states.
The aggressive political style of the PAN’s Cortés is also under scrutiny and several in-power governors have said that his is driving the party in the wrong direction.
And the PRD’s Zambrano has very little in the way of constituents to bargain with at the Va por México table.
The three will be going into a potential political baseball game in which AMLO, known for his aggressive knuckleballs, both on and off the court, will be pitching some heavy-duty spins.