Broken alliance, presidential happiness

In less than a week, President López Obrador achieved three of the most important political victories he has had in the course of his government. Each of those successes reinforces his authoritarianism.

At least four ministers of the Supreme Court allowed themselves to be intimidated and/or manipulated by the president to prevent the informal pre-trial detention from being considered unconstitutional. Discretionary imprisonment, without a court sentence, will continue to affect thousands of people. The ministers expressed their positions on Monday, September 5, and three days later, the author of the paper they were discussing postponed indefinitely the presentation of a new project. Faced with the possibility that preventive detention, which has been an instrument of the government to imprison political opponents, would be limited, López Obrador disqualified and threatened the ministers.

On Wednesday the 7th, the leaders of the PAN and the PRD announced the “temporary suspension” of the Va por México coalition. That was his response to the PRI initiative to extend the participation of the armed forces in public security tasks for another four years. A PRI deputy unexpectedly presented a constitutional reform initiative that would extend that intervention from 2024 to 2028. Behind that proposal is Alejandro Moreno, the national president of the PRI.

The extension of that term is not necessary, at least not now. That decision could be made by Congress in a couple of years, if by then the National Guard were not enough to take care of public safety. By extending the presence of soldiers in the streets well into the next government, López Obrador guarantees the hegemony of the Army in these tasks. Thanks to the votes of the PRI that Moreno would contribute, such a reform could be approved in time for the president to boast of it in the national holidays. The PRI national leader bowed to pressure from the government, which took advantage of his abundant dirty laundry.

On Thursday the 8th, the Senate approved the assignment of the National Guard to the Secretary of Defense. Thanks to this reform, the members of the National Guard are now under the direct command of the Secretary of Defense and have military jurisdiction. The legislators of Morena and his allies did not care about the unconstitutionality of that reform, as long as they pleased the president and the generals on whom he relies.

The National Guard is now under the direct command of the Secretary of Defense

The breakdown of the alliance clouds almost any possibility for the opposition to succeed in the 2024 election. Moreno’s move to ingratiate himself with the government, offering it a reform that it would not achieve without the support of a segment of the opposition, broke an alliance forged with great patience.

Associating with the PRI, against which they fought for decades, was a very difficult decision —and with significant internal costs— for the leaders of the PAN and the PRD. The main objective, which is to confront the authoritarianism and inexperience of López Obrador, justified that agreement. Moreno’s disloyalty to his commitments to those leaders confirms the suspicions of those who warned against the alliance with the PRI.

The vote expectations recorded by the polls indicate that, without an alliance, Morena will win the state elections next year and the federal election in 2024. But beyond today’s electoral preferences, it is possible to ask ourselves to what extent the presence of the PRI benefits or not an opposing alliance. The Reforma poll published on September 1 confirms that the PRI is the most unpopular of all the parties: 39% of citizens say they would never vote for it.

Moreno himself subtracts support from the PRI and therefore from those who ally with that party. A survey by El Financiero (August 30) that asked if this character should continue as the national leader of the PRI, found that 60% of citizens considered that he should leave that position, 22% said that it was better for him to continue, and 18% % had no opinion on the subject. When the same question was specifically asked of PRI supporters, 61% said that Moreno should stop being leader of that party and 39% considered that he should continue.

Whatever the opposition alliance, it would have to be anchored in organized society beyond the parties. On Saturday, September 10, the national council of the National Civic Front was installed, promoted by citizens of varied backgrounds and who agree in their rejection of López Obrador. The objective of this Front has been to persuade and demand opposition parties to act in a cohesive manner. Moreno’s prank would have to lead the opposition to think of other possibilities of agreement, without the PRI or at least without the current leadership of that party. For now, the president has reason to be “happy, happy, happy,” as he says mockingly.

CUPBOARD. Javier Marias

Javier Marías, who died this Sunday in Madrid, was the greatest writer in the Spanish language, perhaps only along with Mario Vargas Llosa. His ability to narrate human passions that are difficult to register —perfidies, impostures, simulations— with impeccable prose, as well as the irony and intelligently critical edge with which he dealt with current politics, made him an indispensable author for those of us who follow him in his journalistic texts and above all in his oceanic, always awaited novels.

Your face tomorrow, the extensive saga of three volumes that gathered 1,600 pages, begins with the musings of a narrator who wonders about the meaning of writing that story: “Shut up, shut up, is the great aspiration that no one fulfills even after death. ”. The readers of Marías are left without the next book, which we always eagerly awaited. He was also a demanding supporter of Real Madrid. His great friend Arturo Pérez Reverte wrote yesterday on Twitter: “That Javier Marías has died without the Nobel Prize takes away a lot of category from the Nobel Prize.”

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Broken alliance, presidential happiness