SAN ANTONIO, June 21 - The National Action Party (PAN) has been a significant contributor to the democratization of Mexico.
Founded at the end of the 1930s by prominent attorneys and headed by Manuel Gomez Morin, this center-right party tied to Christian democracy was considered a faithful opponent of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had solely dominated politics in Mexico for 70 years.
Marked by the triumph of Vicente Fox, the PAN has governed the country since the year 2000. In 2006, voters once again elected the PAN to Mexico’s presidency by electing current President Felipe Calderon.
This year, the PAN nominated Josefina Vazquez Mota as its presidential candidate instead of the individual who allegedly had the president’s support. Although, Vazquez Mota has performed somewhat poorly, the PAN has fared even worse by not helping its candidate. Manuel Espino, a leader of the PAN and previously its president, has decided to support the PRI candidate.
Even more noteworthy and outrageous is the decision by former president Vicente Fox to suggest that PAN members should vote for Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), who is leading the polls. Fox’s decision was received with complete disapproval from his colleagues. Vazquez Mota has expressed herself in harsh terms with respect to the former president, Vicente Fox, as has also the current PAN president Gustavo Madero.
President Felipe Calderon, a powerful PAN member, is prohibited by law from interfering in the electoral process, but surely looks with disdain on these disagreements among members of a political party that was previously characterized by its discipline, coherence and adherence to its political platform.
It is highly likely that the PAN, which is evidently undergoing an identity crisis, will exit the presidential residence at Los Pinos and once again become an opposition party.
Dr. Mario Melgar-Adalid is a member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers (SNI). He is a Law researcher at UNAM’s Institute of Juridical Research and currently an Of Counsel at Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton, L.L.P. in San Antonio. He writes a regular column for CCN's monthly Mexico Report, which also appears in the Guardian. To view all previous versions of the CCN Mexico Report, go to: http://www.ccn-law.com/