Mexico’s presidential elections are still 21-months away, but the war for “The Chair” among political parties has certainly been on for some time, but always picking up momentum.
This past week, presidents of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Enrique Ochoa Reza and the National Action Party (PAN) Ricardo Anaya filmed television messages directly attacking the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) leader and candidate for a third run Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), both claiming an old attack that helped PAN and PRI defeat AMLO in the 2006 and 2012 presidential elections.
PAN’s Ricardo Anaya launched a dual attack in his message against PRI and Morena. His opinion is that PRI must leave power in order to eradicate corruption and of AMLO he says that the former Mexico City mayor’s “madcap actions are and have been a threat to our nation.”
PRI’s Ochoa Reza focuses on AMLO’s past actions, particularly on the massive sit-in demonstration he and his Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) followers staged on main thoroughfare Paseo de la Reforma for several months affecting the financial sector on the street.
“Someone affecting your work, your time and your income can be a hope” Ochoa Reza says in reference to the slogan AMLO uses for Morena as “the hope for Mexico.”
Most likely these attacks against AMLO not only will continue but will tone up as the months go by. PAN and PRI leaders will continue to claim AMLO “is a threat to Mexico,” which was exactly the same slogan AMLO’s former political contenders and then presidents Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto, who beat him by a small margins of 0.6 and six percent, used.
To top it off, the PRD introduced a bill to to Congress to revamp current electoral regulations and include a runoff election in case the voting is extremely close, as was in the cases of Calderón and Peña Nieto.
Yet neither PAN nor PRI want a runoff election and that includes President Peña Nieto who this past week said this is “not the right time for a runoff election,” known in Spanish as “segunda vuelta” or the second round. Most observers believe that any PRI or PAN candidate would not withstand a “segunda vuelta,” and surely the presidency would then go to AMLO. A runoff election would be called, if approved by Congress, if none of the contending candidates gets 50 percent or more of the vote.
Definitely no candidate nowadays can get 50 percent or more given the fact that besides PAN, PRI and Morena, the vote is badly splintered among minority parties and there could be as many as six or seven candidates for president.
AMLO, in the meantime continues to be the only candidate touring the nation promoting his candidacy and Morena continues to be the party to vote for, with just 21 months until the election slated for the first week in June 2018.
Of course he’s responding to PRI and PAN leaders.
“Those now going on television to say things against us are hirelings (he uses the folksy Mexican word achichincles) of those right at the top, like former presidents Carlos Salinas and Vicente Fox and Calderón, and also (business leader) Claudio X. González. They are all chewing on and eating their long nails due to the fear they have of us,” AMLO said last Thursday at a Durango City rally.
For some political commentators, these directing attacks on AMLO may have to change once the contending parties define their candidates and as PAN increasingly seeks to gain the abundant anti-PRI vote which is believed to have increased under Peña Nieto.
In fact, PAN hopeful candidate Margarita Zavala, wife to Felipe Calderón and first lady from 2006 to 2012, is already attacking PRI and focuses a lot less on AMLO.
“Peña Nieto is a president of the republic who heads a government that has greatly failed in more than one way. He’s failed in terms of ethics, on the meaning of the galloping corruption we’re living under; also in terms of moral authority because moral authority is delegitimized to impose law and order.”
AMLO running for office is “becoming a custom but I do not see him as a threat to Mexico. I know how to defeat him.” She added that her candidacy for PAN, if it comes, would be a veritable “threat to AMLO.”
This is more or less the state of the 2018 electoral process, but the one fact all polls assure of is that AMLO is at the front of the pack.