The resignation of two major political party leaders after losing the recent June 5 elections is both good and bad news.
The good news is that the Mexican democratic system is working like a pendulum and that those who were in yesterday, are no longer today.
The leaders of the Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) and Democratic Revolution (PRD) parties Manlio Fabio Beltrones and Agustín Basave, respectively, heralded that there is something very wrong within their political organizations. Both resigned for different reasons but deep down was the fact that voters turned their backs on the PRI and PRD.
Most importantly is the resignation of Manlio Fabio Beltrones. Previous to the elections, Beltrones predicted that the PRI would win the 12 governor elections at stake and would be back to its old glory days when it fully controlled the nation.
The voters socked it to him and PRI lost seven out of 12 elections, a veritable disaster for PRI and a fact that shoved Beltrones out of a lifetime political career.
In his resignation speech last Monday, Beltrones blamed the defeats not on the candidates, but on the performance of notoriously corrupt governors such as those in the states of Veracruz, Quintana Roo and Chihuahua.
“It has to be said loud and clear: In many of the cases voters reacted to mistaken policies or to corrupt politicians who did not have transparent conducts nor acted in a responsible way.”
As lame as it sounds, this is harsh language in PRI lingo, which never addresses culprits neither by name nor specific locations. But between the lines, he was definitely talking to and about Governors Javier Duarte of Veracruz, Roberto Borge of Quintana Roo and Cesar Duarte of Chihuahua.
To boot, these three states were considered unfathomable PRI political bastions which were to be held “at any cost.” Democracy slapped the PRI, and Beltrones, with a harsh glove of thorns. In fact, as you read this, the PRI is trying its best to protect this trio from public wrath, as their corruption led the party into disgrace.
After resigning, PRI officials did not want Beltrones to leave his leadership, which he’ll keep until a new PRI president is elected, or better said, appointed by President Enrique Peña Nieto, as even in tempest, “not even a straw” moves without the party’s leader consent.
The situation PRD’s Agustín Basave is currently confronting is quite different. Basave managed to negotiate joint candidacies with National Action Party (PAN) president Ricardo Anaya and they won three out of three, namely Veracruz, Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas states.
Basave, a former PRI ideologist, was lured into the PRD last year, given his left-wing ideology and because he was not part of any of the many factions that make up the PRD.
His joint ventures with unlikely political bed fellow PAN were both applauded and booed within the PRD. In short, he had a good showing under the splintered politicking within PRD’s “tribes” or the many different ideological groups that make it up.
The real problem is that at present, and after losing terrain in the recent elections, the party is over 700 million pesos in the hole and penniless. Basave does not want to be present when the crap hits the fan and questioning begins about the destination of those funds by the National Electoral Institute, (INE) which oversees the finances of all political parties. As a side note, all parties are subsidized by the federal government through INE, an independent institution.
In any case, Basave will stay in the post until July 2, when the “tribes” have to come up with a new PRD leader.
The Beltrones and Basave resignations are now part of the past. What’s important now for PRI and PRD is who’s going to lead the party through the upcoming 2017 governor and 2018 presidential elections.
At the state governor level, the two PRI bastions are at stake, namely Coahula and the State of Mexico. Coahuila is second in size in the nation, while the State of Mexico has the largest registered voter population. The feat for the man or woman who leads the party next will be preserving these two states and setting the stage for the presidential elections.
As for the PRD, everyone predicts its imminent death or at best that it remains a minority political party that will have to survive on coalitions.
Along with their gone leaders, these two parties were too part of the June 5 electoral casualties.