Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mexico Update:  PAN & PRI Legislators Will Hold Legislative Sessions With or Without PRD


The Mexican Chamber of Deputies in Alternative Session Today in Mexico City

As the takeover of the upper and lower chambers of the Mexican Congress by the leftist "Broad Progressive Front" (FAP) continues today, legislators of the PAN (National Action Party), PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), and PVEM (Ecologist Green Party of Mexico) have joined together and decided to hold legislative sessions in alternative chambers on the grounds of the national Congress in the San Lazaro suburb of Mexico City. Their immediate order of business was to grant legislative approval of President Felipe Calderon's upcoming visit to New Orleans later this month to meet with North American leaders. The legislators are also prepared to hold a second alternative session to receive the President of India, Pratibha Devising, if the takeover of the main legislative chambers does not end. The President of the Directive Desk of the Chamber of Deputies, PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) member Ruth Zavaleta, denounced the decision to hold the alternative session in the early morning hours today in a nearby auditorium chamber and evidently was not pleased that the legislators who assembled began without waiting for her to arrive as titular head of the lower chamber.

There have been talks aimed at bringing the takeover to an end, which have focused upon the FAP's insistence that a four month debate on Calderon's energy reform proposal be held before it comes to a vote. The PRI has offered a compromise proposal that would set aside a 50 day period for a debate that primarily would be held in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, which the PAN Party accepted and the FAP rejected. So the takeover of the upper and lower chambers of Mexico's Congress continues, though all official business has not stopped and the prospect that everyone but the FAP may be able to come together legally to do the nation's legislative work without the left participating is growing.

Meanwhile; as if this is not enough, the PRD's problems with resolving the national election of a new party president that was held on March 16 but which is still unresolved, persists as a nation-wide recount continues. And it is very difficult to tell exactly who is winning or if the irregularities are so large that no one can know. Some early reports of the counting results from within the PRD suggested Jesus Ortega, who represents the Nueva Izquierda faction that is most closely aligned with PRD founder and Lopez Obrador critic Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, might be the winner. His primary opponent Alejandro Encinas, the ex-Governor of the Federal District and close ally of Lopez Obrador, may actually have been ahead by a very slight margin in the votes counted, but that is the problem. It has been one month since the national vote, the ballots are still not all counted, and apparently the internal party commission that has the duty of counting them either cannot or will not finish. Today Ortega went before the nation's highest electoral court to demand a non-extendable deadline of 48 hours for the PRD's commission to finish the vote count so that whichever candidate loses will have the option of pursuing a legal challenge to the result, which might suggest that Ortega expects to finish second except that he and others are accusing Encinas of preventing a completion of the vote count. Ortega also released a video on TV showing irregularities in the campaign, including the intervention of Lopez Obrador on behalf of Encinas, something AMLO is forbidden from doing under Mexican electoral law. And Cuauhtemoc Cardenas stated that he believes the election may have to be annulled -- this will mean a second nation-wide vote if it happens -- because of the failure to get the votes counted. Cardenas also commented on the resignation of two very prominent party leaders, Arturo Nuñez and Edmundo Cancino, from the party's electoral commission as demonstrating the unlikelihood of finishing the counting successfully. Nuñez and Cancino's resignations appear to be in response to an Encinas-backed effort to have contested ballots resolved by a PRD committee whose responsibilities lie outside the handling of vote counting, which Ortega believes would be a way to fix the vote in favor of Encinas. The PRD is a very divided party at this moment and about the only thing that seems to be holding it together is its near unanimous opposition to Calderon's energy reform. Were it not for this issue, control over the party may have slipped away from Lopez Obrador altogether.

Whatever else one may think of Mexican politics, it is definitely not boring. Chaotic? Yes; but never boring.


Martha Colmenares said...

Estuve leyendo las interesantes entradas. Me parece muy bien el alerta sobre López Obrador.
Saludos, Martha

StJacques said...

Gracias Martha.

Pienso que en este momento hay muchos dentro de la izquierda en México que están luchando con la posibilidad que pueden hacerse políticamente irrelevantes si continúan la táctica negativa de promover la ingobernabilidad del pais.

Y la cuenta de pejistas contrae cada día.


StJacques (Jacobo)