I can’t recall the name of a crime B-movie I watched decades ago but a scene within it stuck in my mind. In a scene a bad guy had gone into a Hollywood style shooting rampage – never short of ammo – until the good guy sneaked from behind the bandit and placed the hot cannon of a caliber long barreled .45 revolver against the back of his head ordering him to “drop’em.” Immediately the bad guy dropped his rifle and gun and exclaimed while raising his hands: “I have always believed in dialogue and negotiation.”
We saw this very same scene (without the guns, of course) at both Houses of Congress in Mexico (Chamber of Deputies and Senate) last week as the new three-party coalition among the National Action Party (PAN), the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the Citizens’ Movement Party (MC) forced the still powerful President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to negotiate a solution of the Prosecutor General’s “automatic pass” which would award current Attorney General and Peña Nieto’s very close buddy Raúl Cervantes Andrade the Prosecutor General post for the next nine years as of 2018.
What the three parties demanded was that a clause in Constitutional Article 102 granting the Attorney General an automatic pass into the Prosecutor post be changed and that there be no automatic pass. As it was, PRI legislators along with their cronies from the National Alliance Party (Panal) and Green Party wanted the automatic pass and the new threesome – backed by National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party – outnumbered them in votes.
As all hell broke loose on the Atlantic with monster storms and the Pacific with a devastating 8.2 earthquake – that was no tremor – the news of the PRI defeat in Congress became second ranked news. Now that the disasters have left their wreckage behind, we can get back to politics in Mexico.
The first good outcome after PRI dropped its political guns besieged by being in the minority vote was that suddenly the three party coalition – PAN, PRD and MC – that was integrated just days before with the frontal purpose of confronting PRI came together. It had been presented before the National Electoral Institute (INE) for registration just on Friday Sept. 1 and one week later they struck hard at the heart of the system.
Several issues prompted PRI legislators to give up on their conniving efforts to avoid a new vote cancelling the automatic pass for the Attorney General – a vote still to be held – and allow for what people want meaning the appointment of a truly independent prosecutor.
All PRI opposition parties believe that allowing Cervantes to become the next Prosecutor General would mean a carte blanche to forgive and forget all the corruption allegedly going on right now under President Enrique Peña Nieto.
What brought the PRI down was that it could not garner a two thirds majority to elect the new Board of Directors at the Chamber of Deputies now headed by PRI member Carlos Macías. When they saw their cause lost last Thursday they had to admit that what really mattered now was keeping the Chamber of Deputies time agenda on schedule as the Treasury Secretariat was to present the 2018 Federal Government Budget last Friday. They conceded and finally the vote favored restarting proceedings.
It must be pointed out that the being on time – a rare habit in Mexico – was also to save face before the international diplomatic community which is watching and any sign of decomposing could be considered a sign of weakness in the Peña Nieto Administration.
But the group that had been under attack just prior to last Friday – PAN, PRD and MC – came up with their first political victory and to reposition itself for the upcoming year of politicking as the July 1, 2018 presidential election closes in. They claim they will be launching a joint candidacy of a person still to be identified but for the moment their group previously and temporarily identified as “Ample Democratic Front” is now officially registered as the “Citizens’ Front for Mexico” of Frente Ciudadano por México in Spanish.
Adding further thrill to political meandering is the fact that INE announced Friday the open season for all political parties to begin their internal proceedings to compete in the July 1 elections and as of now INE will be watching the actions of them all – eight – and try to referee the upcoming struggle.
But for once in the Peña Nieto Administration, the Citizens’ Front managed to stop cold PRI from getting away with appointing the first Prosecutor General with one of their own which can indeed and joyfully interpreted as a legal victory for Mexican style democracy.