National Action Party (PAN) president Ricardo Anaya Cortés is confronting two after-election dog fights: one against the electoral system both in the states of Coahuila and State of Mexico and the other within the party against, of all people, former first lady Margarita Zavala. Anaya’s problem is that he may be losing both. Let’s take them one at a time.
On the electoral front, Anaya contends that PAN will not let up its attacks against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) until the National Electoral Institute (INE) declares the elections in both Coahuila and State of Mexico null.
Last Sunday in Coahuila, after winner of the June 4 elections Miguel Ángel Riquelme received from the Coahuila Electoral Institute official proof of the majority vote, Anaya blasted the institute as being rigged. He claims they stopped the recount at 70 percent of the computed booths. He blamed current PRI Gov. Ruben Moreira of masterminding and then validating the fraud.
Regardless of his protest, and of course, that of PAN candidate Guillermo Anaya — now busy staging protest demonstration in Coahuila’s two largest cities, Saltillo and Torreón — the victory has been awarded to PRI’s Riquelme and as the old Mexican adage says: Not even God can take away the pain of a landed blow. (Palo dado ni Dios lo quita.) But still, “Coahuilans will continue to move on the streets,” he says.
Anaya is still shouting and screaming, accusing the Peña Nieto administration of blatant fraud and performing the cynical move, claiming that the regulations of democracy are “to be broken” as he did in the two states under contention.
“This is not merely a struggle of PAN, but an authentic fight of all Mexicans so that vote is respected and that electoral institutions do not function in a factional way.”
But for many a Mexican observer there’s a lot more than meets the eye in Ricardo Anaya’s struggle against the system. It is documented that for this election Anaya struck a deal with the Peña Nieto himself to do everything he could to lose the state of Mexico and in exchange, the president would see to it that PAN won Coahuila. Anaya’s problem say several columnists is that Anaya feels betrayed about PRI also nabbing Coahuila. According to political gossip, in his negotiation with Peña Nieto he opted for nominating Josefina Vázquez Mota as PAN candidate knowing that she would lose the election but would carry some votes in what used to be known as “the blue corridor.” Even there she lost.
Anaya will now file his complaint with the Federal Electoral Tribunal, but it looks highly unlikely that the tribunal will concede to his demand of nullifying the elections. The results are a done deal and that’s that.
Moving onto the second front of discussion is the internal PAN bickering. Let’ start with the Coahuila election lost by Guillermo Anaya, a person unrelated to him, but who is definitely related to PAN nomination hopeful Margarita Zavala. Guillermo is her “compadre” and she’s the godmother of Guillermo’s kids. In many ways, evil tongues claim, Ricardo Anaya Cortés is sighing relief Guillermo lost Coahuila, because Ricardo hates Margarita Zavala’s guts.
The fact is that besides being the current PAN president, Ricardo Anaya would love to be the presidential nominee too. That, of course, pitches him against Margarita Zavala who is said to be running so that her husband, former president Felipe Calderón, can rule for a second term using her as a front.
Margarita Zavala blamed Ricardo Anaya of the two defeats in Coahuila and State of Mexico claiming he’s not serious about his leadership. She demanded PAN to define — “in no more time than one month” — who its candidate will be during the 2018 elections.
Inside PAN, this was seen as poor taste by pedigree members as former presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Zevallos asked her not to attack the party in moments of distress. Yet Margarita is already galloping on the electoral trail and on Tuesday she launched her “I For Mexico” campaign, equipped with a bus to tour the nation.
This is surely giving Ricardo Anaya an attack of gastritis.
Also Margarita Zavala keeps releasing polls that place her up on top of electoral preferences over also PAN nomination hopeful former Puebla Gov. Rafael Moreno Valle (also in campaign) and of course, Ricardo Anaya, whom her polls carried out by Strategic Communication Cabinet place both Anaya and Moreno Valle tied in second place.
Thus is the state of the lack of union at National Action Party, which, on the positive side, is thoroughly enjoying having won the Nayarit state governorship and having won 120 former PRI municipal mayoralties in Veracruz, both in an alliance with the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).
Reality is now that the election is in the past, and the struggle for the presidency of the Mexican United States has begun.