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)
The PAN central committee (CEN) agreed to convene the party’s National Council on August 8th to elect a new “interim” party president to succeed Germán Martínez, who resigned in the wake of the July 5 elections. Candidates will need to register by July 24. Most observers think the favorite for the post is César Nava, the President’s former private secretary, who was just elected to the new Chamber of Deputies. (Universal 7/14)
The PAN started the process of electing a new party leader to replace Germán Martínez and rebuild after July 5. Senator Santiago Creel published an open letter calling the election “the worst political defeat in the history” of the PAN. He said, “We haven’t known how to combat intelligently the old regime.… We should recognize that the old authoritarian system continues in full force, and at times with renewed vigor or – as they say – with a ‘new attitude.’…We have protected governors that committed acts that the most basic sense of ethics should have caused us to repudiate and used every legal method to remove them from power.… We have defended union, peasant, and economic groups that are the corporatist, clientelistic, and anti-democratic pillars of the old regime.” (Reforma 7/13)
PAN party president Germán Martínez announced his resignation today, in the first fallout from the party’s poor performance in the mid-term elections. In a press conference a few hours after meeting with President Felipe Calderón, Martínez said:
I assume completely the responsibility that the national party president has for all and every one of the results. I am convinced that in politics one must accept the consequences of his own actions. My oversight did not achieve that the generous efforts of so many panistas hoped for.
He called for a meeting of the party’s National Council within the next 30 days to elect a successor. (Reforma 7/6)
The scheduled debate between the heads of the PRI and the PAN, Beatriz Paredes and Germán Martínez, was called off after the Radio and TV Chamber (CIRT) said they would refuse to broadcast it. The PRD and the PSD parties filed complaints with the Federal Electoral Institute about being excluded, and the broadcasters said the risk of being sanctioned by the IFE was too great. Columnist Sergio Sarmiento noted that the IFE has no legal basis for opposing the debate, but, “In Mexico everything that is not expressly prohibited is permitted … unless the IFE says otherwise.” It is now highly unlikely that there will be any debate prior to the elections. (Reforma 6/16, 6/17)
The two leaders of the PAN and the PRI, Germán Martínez and Beatriz Paredes, will hold a debate on Wednesday, June 17th. The PRD and the minor parties will not participate.
PAN leader Germán Martínez agreed to a challenge from his PRI counterpart, Beatriz Paredes, to debate the state of the nation and their respective parties’ policy proposals before the July elections. Martínez demanded a two-person debate, excluding the PRD and minor parties. No date or format has yet been agreed. This agreement follows on the heels of a call by Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont: “I encourage a debate in front of the nation by the principal political forces, and the federal government will be more than disposed to respond to its critics.” (Universal 5/26)
Congressional election preferences
An El Universal poll (3/30) showed a 10 point drop in support for the PRI over six weeks, confirming the trend showed by other polls; the PRD also lost support. A significantly increased share of those surveyed said the “vote is secret.” The results leave the PRI and the PAN essentially tied with 90 days to the election. As columnist Salvador García Soto noted, “The same pride that affected AMLO [in the 2006 presidential election] today damages the PRI as the favored party for the July 5 elections – they believe they have such an advantage that they disdain and minimize the damage caused by the war strategy of [PAN party leader] Germán Martínez.” (Universal 4/1)
The Senate passed the much delayed asset forfeiture law 87-0; the measure now goes to the Chamber. The PAN’s attacks on the PRI for its delays in supporting the law have been one of the major elements in the recent political dynamic. Even as his delegation voted in favor, PRI secretary general Jesús Murillo Karam denounced Germán Martínez, the PAN party leader, as having “the mentality of a despot” and abusing the legislative process for partisan ends. (Reforma 4/2)
Speaking at the annual banker’s convention in Acapulco, PAN party president Germán Martínez blasted the PRI: “It’s time for the PRI to define fully if it will support the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. … President Felipe Calderón and the PAN are on the side of security. We want to know what side the PRI is on.” The PANista, who was sharing the podium with PRI leader Beatriz Paredes, said, “The old political culture of the country, the culture of deals, of accommodation, isn’t the way to confront organized crime, nor will it generate a viable and durable atmosphere for public peace.” In her response, Paredes called Martinez’s statements a “lamentable spectacle” and “very damaging to democracy.” (Proceso 3/19)