What was supposed to be a discussion to set the selection course of a candidate for the 2018 presidential elections in Mexico last Saturday at the National Action Party (PAN) headquarters in Mexico City turned into a verbal brawl that only came to show how badly splintered PAN is.
There were several speakers but present at the podium was former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, who in the end became the central piece of the discussion particularly after former deputy and senator Juan José Rodríguez Prats lashed at him for wanting to be a protagonist.
“We’re had enough of your abusing us, of your steamrolling over us and now you want to impose your wife on us,” a furious Rodríguez Prats told Calderón right to his face. To boot, Calderón was recalled that he “imposed” former PAN leaders Germán Martínez and César Nava who led the party into disarray.
Then Rodríguez Prats turned to PAN presidential hopeful and former first lady, Calderon’s wife Margarita Zavala and told her directly:
“Margarita, if you want to win the nomination of the presidency, the least indicated person as promoter is Felipe Calderón; he’s harming you,” he said in the midst of a loitering crowd both from Margarita and Calderón and some of their supporters.
Incidentally, the PAN gathering was to be a “secret” one and there were no cameras allowed but audios of the proceedings were mysteriously delivered to dailies’ El Universal and Reforma immediately after and the daily published part of the PAN meeting proceedings Sunday morning.
With the news of the clash between Rodríguez Prats and the Calderóns out in the open, Rodríguez Prats, a usual radio and TV political personality and an honestly outspoken PAN member, went to his turf which are the daily political daily radio shows as well as getting interviewed by political magazine Proceso, to whom he showed his disgust not with Margarita Zavala, but with the meddling of the former president into the intra mural electoral procedure now underway at PAN.
Asked by Proceso about that moment in which he spoke directly to Margarita Zavala, Rodríguez Prats said that his words hit home because “Margarita did not even respond, he was the one responding.”
But Rodríguez Prats felt satisfied with the outcome because “in this act it was the first time ever we’ve made Felipe feel that he doesn’t own the PAN. That was the most important thing about what happened Saturday night.”
He added that at PAN “this was the beginning to stop a “cacicazgo” at PAN.” Cacicazgo is the word used to describe a one man imposing leadership, a political boss, from the word “cacique.”
The former senator recalled the days when he backed the candidacy of Felipe Calderón for president, when “Calderón proclaimed we had to win the presidency without losing the party; unfortunately we won the government but lost our party. The practices of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) were copied and imitated” which led to the defeat of the 2012 presidential candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota and the near demise of PAN.
Rodríguez Prats made it a point that he quit PRI after 24 year militancy and joined PAN 23 years ago because then it was “a fresh party” which after 12 years in presidential power it is no longer.
Calderon’s response to Rodríguez Prats was described as a “berrinche” or temper tantrum but it only comes to show that a former president who still in 2015 was proclaiming that he’d stay out of politics, as former presidents are demanded to do, he’s now full steam ahead promoting his wife’s nomination. He’s even threatened to resign from the party that took him to the presidency if his will shall not be done.
At this point in the intra mural electoral procedure there are a few other PAN members who would like to be the “flag bearer” to regain the presidency, but with the return of Felipe Calderón as an activist, the boat is rocking.
Previously, PAN detractors have claimed that what Calderón wants through the candidacy of his wife is to reelect himself. But that accusation came from the outside, what Rodríguez Prats told him Saturday was an inside job.
Current PAN leader Ricardo Anaya has stayed conspicuously mum over this head on encounter over the candidacy of the former “Mexican Hillary Clinton” but this is a case in which something’s got to give and from the looks of it at this point, Calderón has become a very heavy anchor that impedes the PAN boat from moving ahoy.