The controversy regarding the Fiscal Miscellaneous resolution approved a few days ago in Congress was not only related to its content but the politic manners that made it happen. In something unusual in a country where legislative discipline is a strong characteristic of political parties, the first part of the 2014 Economic Package could transit via PRD’s internal division on the matter. More than being a symptom of irreparable separation among PRD legislative whips, it shows an equally infrequent capacity of negotiation, which has obtained some advantages from its involvement in the Pact for Mexico. It is very likely seeing a unified PRD – as far as possible – “reconciled” with other parties and left-wing movements, when the time comes to debating the energy reform. It is worth asking: what did PRD get in exchange for its proximity with the government?
Given the vote in favor of a sector of its Congressmen to the Income Law, PRD would not only have negotiated obtaining more resources for the states it rules (Mexico City, Tabasco, Guerrero, Morelos and Oaxaca) but also acquiring a practically unheard leading role in national decision-making. This is particularly contrasting with the previous administration where, despite participating in a very relevant phenomenon such as Governorships won via allying themselves with PAN, those who headed the PAN federal government were always reluctant to linking themselves with PRD. Unlike the Calderón administration, which chose to double-lock its relations with PRD – the President was always opposed to the aforementioned alliances – Peña’s administration started its government by closing ties with both parties. This currently explains – in addition to the negotiation capacity of PRI’s main stakeholders at Congress the success on transiting almost every reform proposed by the Executive Power.
Likewise, PRD, favored by the order in which reforms have been discussed, has the opportunity of capitalizing its vote in favor of the Fiscal Miscellaneous resolution, not only with the aim of boosting its social agenda but in erasing the idea that it is “a party that opposes everything”. Paradoxically, although PAN yearns for being branded with such a motto, PRD has been the one who could better assume themselves as a responsible opposition that can criticize but perhaps support projects by the Executive Power in which both agree upon. PRD will have no problem in voting fiscal issues by arguing, just like PRI, that inequality and poverty will be addressed, while a few weeks after, it will defend its rhetoric opposition to the energy reform. At that time, PRD will try to eliminate any image of collaboration with the government and thereby, recover some sort of legitimacy in the face of its supporters. It remains to be seen whether a future PRD leadership, different from the one led by Jesús Zambrano, manages to keep that stance, a factor that will undoubtedly constitute the most important asset for PAN in its face-off with the government.
Lastly, regarding the inner life of the party, the negotiations of resource allocation for PRD, through its different modes (party whips, state budget, social programs) will favor – just like the case of PAN – its leadership, headed by the group led by Zambrano. This will provide an important advantage in relation with other actors within PRD that might aspire to take away leadership when PRD renews its governance bodies in the first half of 2014. Nevertheless, the actions undertaken by PRD can be risky. By assuming greater government responsibilities, PRD might be paying for their costs. This could generate an ideal scenario for the radicalization of certain groups, not only those linked with López Obrador, but also anti-system movements. What is true is some individuals might use the term “PRI-PRD-ism”