Politics: Key Preliminaries Ahead of 2018 Race

MEXICO - Report 12 Aug 2015 by Guillermo Valdes and Esteban Manteca

The 2018 campaign is now underway. The country’s three main parties are electing new leaderships with an eye toward the next presidential elections.

By mid late last week it became obvious that Manlio Fabio Beltrones would face no opposition in his bid to become the next chairman of the governing party. Over the weekend he was essentially declared the next chairman, a choice that by no means points in the direction of any modernization of the party but one that should help to avert any fissures within the organization. He may be an old school politician, but he is one who may be able to project an image distinct from that of President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose very depressed approval ratings threaten to weigh on the party’s chances in future elections. Clearly the PRI is looking to generate an image of strength, but one different from that of the current President of Mexico.

In the PAN the youthful Ricardo Anaya appears assured of victory as he enjoys the support of the two main factions that have been warning for control of the party for some time. Not only is he seen as the best bet to overcome the faction fight that has weakened the organization in the past four years, but to also build a new relationship with the citizenry and implement a generational transition that could signify stronger ties to the fastest growing group of voters: young people.

The situation is much less clear in the PRD, which over the weekend formally agreed to accept the resignation of the entire national leadership and to choose a new leadership is to be elected in the second half of September or early October. The PRD, whose popularity has sunk to only half that of its main rival on the left (Morena), is badly in need of leadership renewal and a redefinition of its strategies, but the meeting over the weekend failed to address the mechanics of the leadership selection process, the type of leadership it seeks much less the sorts of strategies it needs to rebuild.

All three parties are in need of new mechanisms that can allow them to extend ties to the citizenry which has grown increasingly alienated from the country’s political class and the political parties in particular.

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