By KELIN DILLON
Following days of contention between members of Mexico’s Va por México electoral alliance surrounding the Party of Institutional Revolution’s (PRI) proposal to expand the influence of the Mexican Armed forces in the streets — a move made in collaboration with the in-power National Regeneration Movement (Morena), the very party that Va por México was created to defeat in the elections — fellow alliance members the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) have announced a suspension of the multi-party electoral coalition for the time being, all while PRI President Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas met with the Mexican Secretary of Defense (Sedena) to strategize on how to move forward with the proposal.
Much of the contention comes from the fact that the proposal, as drafted by PRI Deputy Yolanda de la Torre, would require changes to the Mexican Constitution, while Va por México had previously agreed on a constitutional moratorium following Morena member and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) own intended tweaks to the nation’s foundational text.
Likewise, PAN President Marko Cortés and PRD leader Jesus Zambrano expressed concerns about the proposal contributing to Mexico’s increasing militarization, and have instead urged for the Armed Forces to return to the barracks in 2024, rather than continue expanding their presence on the streets until 2028 as stipulated by De la Torre’s proposal.
“The PAN and the PRD express our surprise and profound dissatisfaction with the initiative that prolongs the militarization of the country,” stated the duo on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
“So we announce the temporary suspension of our legislative and electoral coalition, until the PRI clearly defines whether it will honor the common electoral platform that we signed in 2021 and the constitutional moratorium that we signed in June of this year.”
Following Va por México’s suspension, there will no longer be voting coalitions in states with elections scheduled for 2023, including the State of Mexico (Edoméx) and Coahuila, and the trio of parties will no longer have collaborative positioning within the Chamber of Deputies. Subsequently, present-day issues for the alliance, like unitedly proposing budget alternatives to the nation’s Economic Package – debates on which began the same day as the alliance’s suspension took effect, Thursday, Sept. 8 – and collaborative efforts against AMLO’s desired electoral reforms and intended constitutional changes are now put in jeopardy.
However, PRI President Moreno – who has faced multiple financial scandals in recent months – has doubled down on his party’s actions while attempting to minimize the alliance’s fractures at the same time.
“The National Guard is not ready, nor does it have the capacity or strength to address today’s security challenges,” said Moreno. “For this reason, we proposed extending the presence, accompaniment and assistance for up to four years so as not to abandon the families with the support of the Army.”
Moreno went on to say: “We are all against militarization, but the country is falling apart. What is being proposed is to change a word, temporality, not a constitutional reform.”
Moreno met with Sedena head Luis Cresencio Sandoval on the morning of Thursday, to discuss the potentials of De la Torre’s proposal with one another
Meanwhile, Morena members have rallied around the fissures in the Va por México coalition and the PRI’s willingness to collaborate, with Morena Deputy Coordinator Ignacio Mier walking back his previous statements that the PRI are “traitors to the homeland,” instead stating, “I openly acknowledge PRI Deputy Coordinator Rubén Moreira and Moreno for supporting the initiative of the brave deputy De la Torre, who guarantees the professionalization of the National Guard.”