Monday, January 24, 2011

Baja California Sur elections: Marcos Covarrubias, born-again panista

It is not illegal to change parties, and often there are quite legitimate reasons for it - e.g. Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas departure from the PRI in the 1980s stemmed from the party's rightward shift. Other times, candidates themselves do change ideologically - they move to the political left or right, and sometimes do no longer "fit" with their old party. It happens. However, most times in Mexico the decision by a candidate to leave his or her party appears unfortunately motivated by purely opportunistic motivations, such as having lost a party primary for an elected position.

In Baja California Sur, the case of Marcos Covarrubias appears decidedly a case of the latter. While Covarrubias has every right to ditch his old party the PRD in favor of becoming the PAN's candidate for government, his new-found enthusiasm for PAN and president Calderón is reaching new levels: In a debate with the other main candidates for governor -  Ricardo Barroso (PRI-PVEM), Luis Armando Díaz (PRD-PT), and Blanca Meza (of Nueva Alianza, the party that uses children as vote getters) - Covarrubias spent most of the alloted time extolling the virtues of federal programs and glorifying Calderón, who he argued has the highest approval rating in Baja California Sur. The audience responded by booing.

Yes, changing party is one thing - but really, how can one expect to be taken seriously - indeed, that one's new "convictions" truly are such - when one candidate can so easily jump across to an opposition party and assume, line, hook, and singer, all that it parties stand for, from almost literally one day to another?

It certainly helps explain the huge distrust Mexicans exhibit toward their parties, and that so many feel that politicians have very little convictions beyond furthering their own personal ambitions.
People like Marcos Covarrubias - yes, he, too, bailed the PRD just when he failed to become its candidate a few weeks back - certainly contribute to these sentiments.

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