Mexico Election 2012: Negotiations Falling Apart Between New President and Opposition


Tomorrow, Mexico swears in a new president: Enrique Peña Nieto.

He was planning to gather the three major political forces around a pact for governance called the Agreement for Mexico, in order to ease the transition in times of crisis and move forward a set of legislative reforms that have been stuck in the congress for years.

Both the right wing National Action Party (PAN) and the left wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) were initially at the negotiation table to settle the agreement to share responsibility in governance. But at the last minute, the negotiator for the PRD, Jesús Zambrano, quit the process due to serious protests by the far left wing of his party, even though the negotiation was agreed to by the moderates, the so called New Left.

This is a typical move by the Mexican left that does not want to play by the rules, because it undermines their narrative of what they think is an illegitimate election and regime.

An agreement between the three major parties would benefit the country as a whole, but there are two things that the left is not willing to yield: (1) their narrative that Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionay Party (PRI) represents a return to the old undemocratic ways, and that their methods are imposition and tyranny, and (2) that there is a secret coalition between the PAN and the PRI to prevent the PRD from ever wining a presidential election.

Peña Nieto, by offering to cut a deal for governance, proves that these conspiracy theories do not hold – theories that pervade the left’s discourse and grudge. And there is something that the party of the Aztec Sun is not willing to do, even at the cost of Mexico’s common good: to accept that they were wrong; to accept that there is no alliance between the PRI and the PAN, because both parties also compete against each other to win elections; to accept that they legitimately lost because of the anti-political rhetoric of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

By quitting the table just before Peña Nieto is sworn in, they try to justify their rebuff at what they think is a system that excludes them, even though they are the ones excluding themselves from their share in government, just for the sake of not proving their argument wrong! Their agenda proves to be blind obstructionism.

But if there is something that voters usually expect from politicians, it is that they work together to solve the country’s problems, and when they fail to fulfill this expectation, usually voters migrate to other parties or simply stay at home during election day. No wonder the PRD lost the last election with a wider margin than back in the controversial 2006 election.

PAN has a more pragmatic approach: they don’t want to be excluded from their share, and will work to cultivate a movement strong enough to recapture the presidency six years from now.

But if there is something that is becoming a tradition for the left, it is losing for the sake of proving their argument, which is, of course, lunacy. When are they going to learn that winning elections demands playing by the rules? Who knows…?