Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Today's Headlines: The parties are choosing their candidates for the June 7 mid-term elections. It's not exactly a feel-good process.
It’s the time of year for political parties to nominate candidates internally and then fight externally about the results. Both the conservative PAN and the left-leaning PRD are badly split — the former in two and the latter into countless warring tribes. The intra-party strife is so pronounced in both cases that early polls are indicating that President Enrique Peña Nieto’s PRI, despite everything, has a good chance of not only holding on to its plurality in Congress but actually increasing it.
EL Universal leads with the woes of the right: “Fighting in PAN over SLP candidacy.” SLP is San Luis Potosí, the central state where the National Action Party is hoping to take over the governorship from the PRI. The nod Sunday went to Sonia Mendoza, a senator on leave who belongs to the PAN wing led by Ernesto Cordero, who failed let year in his bid to take over the party and is loyal to former President Felipe Calderón.
The loser, former federal deputy Alejandro Zapata, loyal to party President Gustavo Madero, said he’ll appeal the result, claiming the internal process was tainted. Mendoza responded by playing the sexism card, forcefully if wordily: “There are still gentlemen who resist granting us the privilege of power to occupy spaces where decisions of state are made.”
IT'S MY PARTY AND I'LL CRY IF I WANT TO
Meanwhile, over at the PRD, ill will persists over the omission of former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard and longtime party powerhouse René Bejarano from the list of congressional at-large candidates. In its No. 3 front-page story, under a fair-sized head shot of Bejarano, El Universal quotes him as saying: “The PRD in liquidation, and straight to the ditch.” It’s a gross mixed metaphor, but it adds another voice to the general perception that the party is falling apart right when it needs to come together to help put a dent in the PRI’s outsized power in Congress.
The story came out of an El Universal interview with Bejarano, who said he was left off the at-large list because he’d criticized party leaders for not acting quickly enough in denouncing former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca, the alleged initiator of the disapparance of 43 normal-school students.
Ebrard’s rejection, Bejarano said, was a case of party leaders knuckling under to pressure from the Peña Nieto administration, which wants Ebrard out of the picture completely. That charge — a serious one in terms of party integrity — echoes a growing suspicion among disgruntled PRD members.
Meanwhile, Excelsior quoted PRD leader Carlos Navarrete as denying any kind of agreement with the Peña Nieto administration. Ebrard was passed over, he said, simply because he didn’t get enough votes in the polling of party insiders last weekend. “We don’t set aside candidacies for anybody,” he said. That, of course, answers nothing — the question is why didn’t he get enough votes.
Navarrete also said that a lot of potential candidates were taken out of consideration if there was any suspicion of corruption or shady associations on their part. He did not mention Ebrard of Bejarano in that category.
ABOUT THAT SPYING THING . . .
Excelsior sticks with its computer espionage story. Yesterday it reported on information from a Russian tech firm that the United States has been planting spyware in commercially sold computers in Mexico and other countries. Today it pats itself on the back by reproducing the front page of Tuesday’s New York Times business section with a story that came out of the same conference in Mexico City Monday. The message, apparently, is that the Times version confirms that Excelsior did the right thing in playing up the story.
This morning’s lead head indicates that Congress agrees with Excelsior, while the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) doesn’t: “Congress and Chancellery differ on espionage.” “Chancellery (Cancillería)” is an informal name for the SRE, the equivalent of a state department. Its undersecretary for U.S. affairs said the spying charge was old news that had already been resolved through diplomacy.
Senate President Emilio Gamboa Patrón, on the other hand, said an explanation is called for and that the ambassador to the United States should demand an answer and report it to Congress.
That ambassador is Eduardo Medina Mora, who heads a short list of three candidates that President Peña Nieto submitted to the Senate Tuesday to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Medina Mora has a law degree from the national university (UNAM) but is more of a political candidate. The Court is often thought of as divided into "inside" members (legal careerists) and those from the "outside" (who come from public service). Medina Mora served as public security secretary and attorney general with the Calderón administration.