Ever since the Pact for Mexico was agreed upon, the internal political operation of the opposition has unavoidably been influenced by it. Almost one year after its implementation and with most significant reforms already approved or in the way of being approved, it is hard to predict what future might hold for the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) as well as the Party for National Action (PAN) as opposition. What have been the consequences for power structures within the aforementioned parties in order for their leaderships to have decided on joining the Pact? How will this influence their future renewal procedures? Has it been worth cooperating for the reforms’ approval?
The current PAN leadership, headed by Gustavo Madero, decided to adhere itself to the Pact for Mexico as a way to remain relevant in the political scenario and try to control the damages after losing the Presidency Even if this decision supposedly provided PAN with a “privileged” place in the negotiation of the reforms – which, perhaps, might have had anyway given the number of its legislative whips -, has also faded the party as a force that might oppose the current government’s policies. This has not led to creating a renewed leadership of its higher authorities that may allow PAN to make a transition towards its new-found role as opposition. With the future renewal of its leader, the options appear to be members close to Madero, members close to former President Calderón and former Secretary of Public Finance, Ernesto Cordero, as well as members close to former 2012 PAN Presidential candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota. In addition, the party’s members have found themselves in internal struggles and mutual accusations, which will prevent the eventual consolidation of a unifying figure that will be able to lead it. There is also the issue, of large sums of cash flow that the government is handing to its political and party counterpart implies that the current administration is in favor of Madero. Thereby, PAN runs the risk of polarizing its struggle between collaborationists and obstructionists. If events remain unfolding as they have now, the party will lose valuable time in a damage control that never seems to end and will continue submerging itself within uncertainties and contradictions.
Regarding PRD, despite its usual conduct of internal division, a likely consensus between its several factions appears in the horizon. Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s resignation from PRD and the potential registry of MORENA (Movement for National Regeneration) as a political party, have allowed a depuration from the most radical ideological wing from the party as well as the relative strengthening of the current leading group: the so-called “Chuchos” (close to the party’s leader, Jesús Zambrano). In addition to all of this, the resurgence of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, whose impetus has been revived with the opposition to President Peña’s energy reform, has created an element of cohesion that was unthinkable a few months ago. There are relevant figures with an interest on taking power away from the “Chuchos” and their presumed candidate for national leadership, Carlos Navarrete. Both Carlos Sotelo (member of the Dignified Homeland Movement) as well as Marcelo Ebrard (Progressive Movement) would represent the main obstacles for the “Chucho” continuity – not mentioning René Bejarano and his well-known capacity for mobilization. Nevertheless, PRD factions might, paradoxically, have greater incentives for cooperation. Perhaps for the first time in its history, the party has obtained a significant institutional influence in the Mexican decision-making process and an unprecedented access to financial resources, especially through the capital flow towards its main political headquarter, Mexico City. All of the aforementioned has been possible due to the existence of the maligned Pact for Mexico. It would be truly worrying for PRD to once again fall under their self-destruction cycles now that they have finally been taking off the label that categorized them as the “eternal-denial” party. The preservation of PRD institutionalism is an asset whose squander would not serve for anyone’s benefit, even less so to those individuals that aspire in remaining “alive” in the national political scenario (such as Mr. Ebrard).
Lastly, beyond how the two opposition parties transform themselves or how much consensus or conflict their internal procedures might cause, a balance that both PRD and PAN will have to learn how to manage is the co-responsibility in those reforms issued by the federal government. It remains to be seen whether PAN and PRD are capable of re-founding their own structures. All of this is happening with complex electoral procedures occurring in all fronts.