Thursday, April 21, 2011

More on the Intra-PRI Rivalries

From Leo Zuckermann:
Senator Beltrones proposed the fiscal and political reforms to position himself as the Mexican politician of ideas; the one who is thinking about the serious issues of the country; the one who is proposing the urgent reforms; the one who sent the agenda. But, from the other side of the party, we have Enrique Peña Nieto with a more pragmatic posture with an electoral viewpoints. The strategy of the Mexico State governor, who controls the PRI caucus in the Chamber of Deputies, is to make no move that can put into danger the election his state, and later the presidential race. "Don't make waves", seems to be the motto of Peña Nieto, the precandidate for the presidency who is ahead in the polls.

There are those that think this strategy of gridlock could cost the PRI votes next year. That could be. But the opposite could also be true, which is to say, that in these circumstances passing a fiscal, labor, or political reform carries with it the risk of affecting powerful interests that could hold it against the PRI in the coming elections. I think that, at the end of the day, Peña Nieto's strategy will be imposed on the PRI, and from here to the presidential elections, there won't be any important legislative reforms.
I don't think there's any doubt about that last part. What's more worrying is the possibility that it's not a product of this PRI and these candidates jockeying for position, but rather an extremely long presidency with no second term and a three-party political system. These are, of course, rather more enduring features of the Mexican political system than Peña Nieto v. Beltrones. We've only had two full presidencies in the democratic era, but, assuming Zuckermann's prediction is right, in neither case has the Congress done much of anything in the final two years of the administration.

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