Friday, December 31, 2010

The PRD's new party president: Candidates ready

As announced on Dec 17, all of PRD´s main party factions agreed that the election for the successor to current PRD president Jesús Ortega will take place at the latest on March 19, and that the winner will immediately take office. This was a step forward: Right up until the last minute, the "radicals" in the PRD, most of whom are supporters of AMLO more than they are true backers of the PRD, threatened physical violence to force Ortega to step down. This particular segment of the PRD, led above all by the scandal-prone corriente IDN of René Bejarano-Dolores Padierna, has issued similar threats, and acted upon then, on numerous other occasions. It should be noted here that the March election is actually a concession from the Ortega camp: After all, he was elected for a three-year tenure in March 2008, yet was unable to take office until the end of that year due to the failure of the "radicals" (the quotation mark is there for a purpose: Many of them are highly socially conservative) to accept Ortega´s victory.

Three main candidates have now been lined up: Jesús Zambrano, national deputy for the party and member of Ortega´s social-democratic Nueva Izquierda wing; Hortensia Aragón, current secretary general of the party and of the Foro Nuevo Sol faction, which is currently allied with Ortega though it has been quite opportunistic in recent years in order to maintain its presence in the Mexico City government; and Dolores Padierna of the Izquierda Democrática Nacional. 

The method by which the new party president will be elected has not yet been determined, though one alternative aired is by a 2/3 vote in the PRD's national council, where Ortega and his allies has a majority but not a 2/3 one. 

My own thoughts: The party must at all costs avoid a divisive election by the mass base, which on every occasion has proved a disaster. Yet as El Universal notes, merely agreeing on the type of election brings the risk of rupture in itself. This is, in essence, the product of the the uneasy marriage between social democratic and left-leaning party builders on the one hand, and the anti-institutional and often populist movement-advocates, on the other, which has been the main source of the PRD's internal woes ever since its birth in 1989.

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