A most unusual event is coming up in Mexico City on Sunday. The National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party is holding its first primary to find out who will run next year as the party’s candidate for Mexico City governor.
This first “poll” kicks off a mechanism of consensus among Morena militants and sympathizers all over the city to avoid a war of words among the four hopefuls who want to run.
The names in the “primary” are Ricardo Monreal, former Zacatecas state governor and current mayor of the Cuauhtémoc borough right in the heart of the city; mayor of the Tlalpan borough Claudia Sheinbaum; Mexico City Morena president Martí Batres; and Senator Mario Delgado, who has been the city government’s education secretary in the past under the Marcelo Ebrard administration.
One common thing the four hopefuls share is that they were previously members of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and splintered along with Morena leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who will definitely be Morena’s presidential candidate next year.
AMLO called for the poll or primary in order to avoid a conflict of interest. As party leader, he could have imposed his favorite candidate but he is going directly to voters who will also have the final say when election-day comes next June, 2018.
This is the first time the Morena party participates in an election and it is precisely when Mexico City will become an independent state. The boroughs will become municipalities and the currently named mayor will become governor.
By gauging participation in the poll or primary, Morena also expects to figure out its real chances of winning the city government currently held by Miguel Ángel Mancera, a man who is not registered under any political party, but who won the post running for the PRD in 2012 by a whopping 67 percent of the vote.
After that election, AMLO decided to part from the PRD to form his own party which did just fine during the 2015-midterm elections winning 14 seats in the Federal District Assembly.
As for the Sunday’s candidates, there have been two polls measuring their vote potential.
Daily newspaper El Universal held one of them in which Ricardo Monreal came out on top and Claudia Sheinbaum second, and pollster BCG did another one in which Martí Batres came out ahead.
Also, daily newspaper Reforma held another poll asking citizens which party they would vote for if elections were held today and Morena came ahead of the other political parties with 34 percent of the vote. This means that whoever is the candidate has a strong chance of becoming the next city governor.
The poll or primary will hint at who would be preferred by voters, but it will be the Morena Political Council who decides the candidate. It will not be an easy decision as the appointee will run in tandem with AMLO for president and winning both the city government and the presidency would certainly be a major show of force by Morena.
AMLO is making it a point to not directly intervene and is doing away with the belief that he is the “strongman” in Morena and that he is the one finally making all decisions.
Rather, AMLO is playing the internal democracy game and avoiding a personal imposition of a candidate. AMLO was Mexico City mayor from 2000 to 2006. This poll will be essential to AMLO as it will create an image of internal democracy in this still very young left-wing political party, which at present has all the chances of winning the city government as well as the presidency.