Mexican political parties are now starting preparations to compete in next year’s federal elections for president — in both houses of Congress with 128 senators and 500 deputies, 26 state governors and over 2,000 municipal mayors.
Each political party sets up its own timing and electoral procedures as established by the ruling board of the National Electoral Institute (INE), which enforces that all candidates must be nominated by November and be ready to start open competition in April. The federal elections will be held on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
Last Sunday, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party held a meeting headed by its founder and current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), to define the way in which candidates — for as many possible seats in government — will be backed and launched.
Morena is the newest party on the list of competitors, but it represents the biggest threat for the remaining eight political organizations as it leads the polls in at least two contests. One, AMLO is currently the favorite candidate in polls to become the next president, and for the upcoming Mexico City governorship, several of its potential hopefuls are also leading way ahead of larger and older parties.
Among the decisions held by the Morena National Council Sunday, was the one to decentralize decisions as the party is currently almost totally controlled by AMLO and his main power center is in Mexico City. In the states, the candidates for governors, senators and deputies — mainly — will be decided by the state organizations, keeping as much as possible from AMLO’s deciding procedures.
The general agreement is that candidates be selected by a consensus as soon as possible, and in case this is not feasible, the Morena National Council will reconvene Sept. 3 in order to carry out a poll among party members, as well as another poll open to all those with a voter’s credential.
As for the presidential candidate, they will be selected according to the INE timing regulations, but only if needed as everyone at Morena knows that there is only one candidate for president, which is the main raison d’etre of this new political organization, and that’s to send AMLO to a third candidacy for president. Previously, AMLO ran twice for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) from which he splintered off in 2014 in disagreement for the leadership support to current President Enrique Peña Nieto, of whom AMLO says is the godfather “of the mafia in power.”
But for now, the Morena State Councils will have to define if there is a consensus to select candidates for governor, senators and deputies, and if there isn’t one, then they’ll appeal to public opinion.
Still, besides the presidency, the cherry on top of this up and coming political party is the Mexico City election for governor in which the struggle within is already intensive and if we gauged by current trends, any of the three leading candidates — Cuauhtémoc borough mayor Ricardo Montreal, city Morena leader Marti Batres or Tlalpan borough mayor Claudia Sheinbaum — could win the Morena candidacy. And it will be this contest that puts Morena’s “consensus” strategy to the test.
But please take into consideration that the Morena council meeting is only the first of several to come up soon.
At President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), all arrangements are being made for its 12th National Assembly August 12, when the leadership will outline the mode of selection candidates for each of the races including that of president. The big struggle within the PRI is to define if President Peña Nieto will make the decisions or the PRI defines it be consensus. PRI is currently the largest political party in the nation and it has the support of the Green (PVEM), National Alliance (Panal) and Social Encounter (PES) parties, who may or may not participate in the convention.
As for the also strong National Action Party (PAN), it has not yet announced when it will convene, but it is only a matter of time before a decision is made.
But for now, Morena and AMLO have cast the first political stone aiming at the 2018 presidential elections.