In an interview, former President Vicente Fox predicted that the PRI would win the 2012 presidential elections. “All the indicators and all the data point that way,” he said. The comments ignited a furious response from PAN party leaders. PAN Senate leader José González Morfín said that Fox was “disconnected” from party matters and he needed to better understand what was happening inside the party. (Universal 9/25, 9/26)
Gómez Mont stressed on several occasions that he would continue to work for the President’s agenda, even after his break with the party. “President Calderón and I are in constant communication; we each have our own points of view. He is the President, and I am the Government Secretary, and I serve the President,” he said at a law forum. His resignation reverberated within the party. Former president Vicente Fox and former party president Manuel Espino said Gómez Mont did the right thing. Former presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos said the PRD and PAN were irreconcilable on fundamental issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Fernández said the PAN could beat the PRI on its own, “if we have leaders of stature who behave in ways that merit respect.”
Nonetheless, the PAN National Council endorsed the electoral coalitions already approved by the central committee. Absent from the Council meeting were President Calderón, Fox, Espino, and congressional leader Josefina Vázquez Mota. While a number of current PAN senators voiced support for keeping Gómez Mont in the cabinet, there is constant speculation of how long he will remain in the cabinet. President Calderón has avoided comment on the controversy. (Universal 2/12)
Former PAN Senator and presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos criticized the Government’s tax plan: “If the government wants to bring in more resources to address so many problems and so many deficiencies, in my opinion, it ought to … reduce tax rates and broaden the tax base and raise more revenues that way.” Former President Vicente Fox said he favored a generalized 15% value added tax (i.e., not raising rates, but removing exemptions) while warning that only a successful economy could reduce poverty, not direct subsidy programs. (Universal 9/28, Reforma 9/26)
The PAN national assembly elected former presidential private secretary César Nava as the new party president to serve out the term of Germán Martínez, who resigned after the July 5 elections. Nava was the sole candidate, and the vote was 290 in favor, with 39 against and 19 abstentions. Another 23 assembly members, including Nava opponents Diego Fernández de Cevallos and former President Vicente Fox, did not attend. Three Nava opponents were given seats on the central committee: Ricardo García Cervantes, Héctor Larios, and Humberto Aguilar. In addition, Aguilar and Javier Corral were elected to the “Committee of Reflection” that will analyze the causes for the PAN’s poor performance in the election. (Universal 8/9)
Joaquin López-Doriga’s column in Milenio is a good summary of the political environment:
With the passage of the weeks, scandal has been the constant. The book of Ahumada, from whom everyone is trying to distance themselves, without being able to deny their own past; Madrazo’s own book, as part of his effort at reinvention, accusing ex-presidents Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox of ties to drug trafficking; the statements of Miguel De la Madrid recognizing that he made a mistake in selecting Carlos Salinas, talking of relationships with drug trafficking and mentioning the name of two of his brothers, Raúl and Enrique, and the civil death that Salinas decreed on his predecessor, annulling the judgment and condemning de la Madrid to political limbo; the YouTube video of Fidel Herrera and the efforts to censor the Internet; the accusations of drug trafficking against a brother of Ricardo Monreal, his saying that Amalia García has ties with organized crime, her response calling him a coward, and the counter reply saying that the governor and her daughter, Senator Claudia Corichi, were oriental queens and princesses; the flight of 53 prisoners from the jail in Zacatecas, freed by an armed commando; the dismantling of a protection network for the Beltrán Leyvas in Morelos after discovering a safe house only 100 meters from the governor’s mansion in Cuernavaca; the firing of the state attorney general, the detentions of the state minister for public safety and the Cuernavaca police chief; and the call by Manlio Fabio Beltrones to all ex-presidents to shut up until July 5th. These form the scenery against which the ongoing electoral process will yield the lowest rate of citizen participation in response to the use of scandal and double talk, cynicism and hypocrisy, as method.