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Former PRI leaders look for a rescue plan. Former PRI leaders look for a rescue plan.

Former leaders meet to decide PRI rescue strategy after punishing vote

The challenge, said one, is to determine how to make the party socially attractive and politically effective

In the wake of the crushing defeat suffered by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the July 1 elections, 10 former party leaders met with current high-ranking officials yesterday to start devising a rescue strategy.

César Camacho, one of the former National Executive Committee (CEN) presidents who attended the meeting, told the newspaper Milenio that all participants agreed that what the party needs is unity, cohesion, a frank exchange of viewpoints and orderly reflection.

However, wholesale change of the party’s leadership — as called for by a group made up of hundreds of PRI members — does not appear to be part of the plan for renewal.

Camacho asserted that the former party leaders had expressed their support for current national president René Juárez, general secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu and organizational secretary Rubén Moreira, all of whom also attended the gathering.

The former party president, who is also an ex-governor of México state and a current member of the federal Congress, said the PRI must now find a way to win back the support of the millions of Mexicans who abandoned it on election day.

“Once what happened [on July 1] has been determined in broad brushstrokes, the challenge is [to identify] what must happen to make [the PRI] a socially attractive and politically effective party that recovers the strength of its organization and its membership and one that is capable of attracting the support of a demanding society . . .” Camacho said.

As part of the process to achieve that, the ex-leader said, the party’s leadership will convene PRI lawmakers, including mayors and state governors, to meetings at which a common political strategy will be established.

Camacho highlighted that the PRI will celebrate its 90th anniversary next March, which he said provides further incentive for its members to regroup and show that the party is capable of the change required to reestablish itself as a force to be reckoned with in Mexican politics.

He added that party unity was particularly important and said that all the members who attended yesterday’s meeting agreed that the party shouldn’t attempt to “cling to the past” but rather “look ahead” to the future.

For his part, CEN president Juárez said the PRI had stopped representing the interests of the people and consequently paid a price at the ballot box.

Voters deserted the party en masse on July 1, punishing it for the corruption scandals in which it became embroiled during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s six-year term.

Rising levels of insecurity and sluggish economic growth also contributed to its demise as did a desire for long-awaited change.

By selling itself as the only force that could bring that change, the Andrés Manuel López Obrador-led Morena party announced itself as Mexico’s new dominant political force on July 1.

A Morena-led three-party coalition won not only the presidency but also majorities in both houses of federal Congress, the governorships in four states and Mexico City and countless other state and municipal positions.

López Obrador will be sworn in as president on December 1, breaking a duopoly that the PRI and the conservative National Action Party (PAN) have held on the presidency since 1929.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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