Añorve Replaces Osorio Chong as PRI Senate Coordinator

New Institutional Revolutionary Party head of Mexico’s Senate Manuel Añorve. Photo: Google


Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, coordinator of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Mexican Senate, abruptly stepped down from his post on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 22, and replaced by PRI Senator Manuel Añorve of Guerrero after the centralist political party hastily called a Senate general assembly to elect its new coordinator.

Añorve, who is reportedly a close friend of embattled Alejandro “Alito” Moreno, the current PRI national president, said that it was the right of his party to establish a general assembly, which in this case directly led to his election as new Senate coordinator of the PRI bench.

“Of course, my respects to Osorio Chong, he complied (with his job) in a timely manner,” said Añorve of his predecessor’s decision to immediately step down. “My election is legitimate, and this is a majority. It is the right of majorities to establish a general assembly, in which there is a process that was, in the end, fulfilled.”

Osorio Chong, for his part, denounced in a press conference what he described was “an illegal extraordinary general assembly of the PRI bench” in the Senate, called by seven PRI legislators including Añorve and Mario Zamora, another PRI member purportedly close to Moreno.

“It is clear that I cannot be there, because I am not going to obey instructions, to conveniently vote for Alito Moreno’s initiatives,” said Osorio Chong. “So I do not renounce my PRI membership, but of course I will not be a part of this bench.”

Moreno has been known to support Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) initiatives, as well as AMLO’s own leftist ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena). This support has led, in particular, to the so-called PRIMor alliance between the PRI and Morena, which reared its ugly head late last year when both PRI and Morena deputies approved the contentious reform to extend the Mexican Armed Forces on the streets until 2028 for public-security tasks.

Osorio Chong said that he has not made a decision yet as to whether he will join another Senate bench, but, for now, he said he will “continue to serve as an independent legislator.”

Tensions have been building up not only between Osorio Chong and Moreno, but also with the PRI president and other former and current leaders of the centralist party, chief among them Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas, herself a former PRI president and secretary of foreign affairs under former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In June of last year, the current and former leaders of the PRI — led by Osorio Chong and Ruiz Massieu — called for the resignation of Moreno. Ruiz Massieu, in particular, said in August that the PRI must undergo an internal evaluation on how to organize, “to present ourselves to the citizens and to develop a relationship with the Mexican people.”

Ruiz Massieu is a niece of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and daughter of former Guerrero Governor and presidential hopeful José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, who was assassinated in 1994 in the midst of the investigation into the murder of PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio that same year.

Ruiz Massieu, Osorio Chong and two other PRI legislators — Eriviel Ávila and Nuvia Mayorga— walked out of Wednesday’s PRI-led general assembly in the Senate.

In January of this year, Osorio Chong took offense at Moreno’s reported gate-crashing of a PRI plenary session in the Senate, in which only PRI gubernatorial candidates — Manolo Jiménez, who is running in Coahuila, and Alejandra del Moral, the standard bearer for the State of Mexico (EdoMéx) — were supposedly invited.

“Alito arrived abruptly, and I think that’s even irresponsible, because it was a meeting of the parliamentary group,” Osorio Chong said, talking to the Mexican press. “He is president of the PRI. He is not the owner of the PRI. And he is not the PRI coordinator in the Senate.”

A report in Mexican daily newspaper El Universal said that “the decision to dismiss Osorio Chong as parliamentary coordinator was made before Feb. 9, when the senator met with Moreno to supposedly iron out rough edges” but that “the fate of Osorio Chong was already cast, because Moreno reportedly never forgave the PRI senator for publicly humiliating him,” and that “it was not only the relationship between Osorio Chong and Moreno that broke down, but also the relationship of Osorio Chong with a good part of the members of his bench, for which, sooner or later, he would have to leave as PRI Senate coordinator.”

López Obrador, on the morning of Thursday, March 23, denied any involvement in the PRI coup against Osorio Chong, calling it “a one-party situation.”

“I have nothing to do with that, honestly. I don’t get involved, I don’t do that kind of thing, and I don’t establish relationships of complicity with anyone. That’s why I have moral authority,” said López Obrador in his daily morning press conference. “How many times have I had an audience with Alejandro Moreno? Not once.”

Leave a Reply