Political Thermometer

March 10, 2014
Political Thermometer

The National Action Party (PAN) increased the political climate with the election of the President of its National Executive Committee. After its loss in the 2012 presidential election, the PAN has continued to experience a series of problems, infighting, corruption accusations and confrontations between various groups, which has led the PAN to consider reformulating its strategy. In addition, the PAN is a deciding factor in allowing the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto to continue with the structural reform project. Specifically, with respect to the significant energy reform currently underway, the PRI needs the PAN as an ally; otherwise, it must confront the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) on its own given that the PRD is opposed to PRI’s proposals on energy. The success of the energy reform depends on the PAN, which highlights the importance of such party’s internal elections. The two contenders to serve as the PAN President were Gustavo Madero (currently on a leave of absence), who is characterized by his ability to reach agreements and communicationwith the PRI, and Senator Ernesto Cordero, a hardliner and ally of former President Felipe Calderon. Cordero questioned the closeness of PAN legislators with government proposals and the fact that Madero is an “admirer” of President Peña Nieto. In the first and only debate between the two contenders, Madero and Cordero both launched accusations that set the confrontational tone that existed within the PAN prior to the election. Cordero accused Madero of defending the PRI and causing the electoral debacle within the party. Meanwhile, Madero insists that the problems within the PAN stem from the past 12 years (from the administrations of Fox and Calderon) and that during his term as Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, Cordero favored the PRI governors, especially Enrique Peña Nieto, in his capacity as Governor for the State of Mexico, for whom he doubled budget allocations without rules on transparency or the rendering of an accounting, which, according to Madero, allowed Peña Nieto to become President of Mexico. The political temperature decreased with the results of the election among the members of the PAN. Madero won the election by a 13 point margin over Cordero, who adds this new loss to his own political resume. The important part of this election is to consider whether the PAN, with a membership of 218,000in a country of over 112 million citizens, will have the opportunity to return to power, as was the case for the 12 years of the Fox and Calderon administrations. Today, if the PAN were required to request a new registration as a political party, the law would not allow it to register based on its reduced membership. Nevertheless, the PAN will be a key player in the regulatory reforms that Mexico needs, which are currently underway.

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