Mexico’s ruling party is in crisis and at risk of losing its congressional majority at the 2021 midterm elections, says a political scientist.
Gibrán Ramírez Reyes, a supporter of the Morena party, also believes that President López Obrador could face difficulties completing his term at his planned “revocation of mandate” vote in 2022 if the party he founded doesn’t address its problems and plot a clear – and improved – course toward the elections.
In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, Ramírez charged that opposition parties have a well-planned road map for the upcoming elections whereas Morena is in disarray.
He claimed that interim national president Alfonso Ramírez Cuéllar’s leadership of Morena is “adrift” and that the party is plagued by internal chaos, a lack of ideological rigor and political incapacity, among other problems.
Ramírez, a proponent of the political philosophy or movement known as lopezobradorismo, said the problems within Morena are more significant than the president himself thinks, adding that López Obrador has “preferred not to get involved” in the process to fix them.
However, without his involvement, “the political process won’t advance in the way the president wants,” he charged.
Given that there is a very real possibility that Morena will lose its majority in the lower house of Congress at next year’s midterms – only 33% of respondents to a recent poll indicated that they would vote for the ruling party – Milenio asked Ramírez if López Obrador can govern without a party.
The political scientist responded that “the president has shown that he can” but conceded that there would be complications.
Ramírez said it would be especially difficult for López Obrador to carry out the transformation he envisions for Mexico without the support of friendly state governors. (Fifteen gubernatorial elections will also be held next year).
If the party doesn’t resolve its problems, the president’s so-called fourth transformation, or 4T, will be left weakened in many parts of the country, he predicted.
Asked whether some governors and mayors already elected under the banner of the Morena party have governed poorly and thus run the risk of eroding the president’s political capital, Ramírez responded emphatically:
“Without a doubt. Of course they will cost Morena,” he said.
Ramírez added, however, that the party’s lack of organization will inflict a greater electoral cost on López Obrador. While the opposition parties are preparing themselves for the upcoming elections, Morena is not, he said.
“I think that’s more serious, the [Morena] governors’ management [of their states] won’t just cost the president [at the ballot box] but also the management of his own party. While Morena continues in limbo, we can’t have expectations of having a reliable apparatus to face up to the challenges of an organized opposition,” Ramírez said.
He said that no “substantial” discussions have yet occurred within Morena about the party’s candidates for the 2021 elections at which mayor and councilor positions will also be up for grabs in some municipalities.
“The apparatus of the 4T [Morena] is in crisis and if it’s not resolved between now and September, … Morena will go to the midterm elections in a very weakened [position],” Ramírez said.
“I believe that if [the problems] are not fixed now, those of us in favor of President López Obrador will be left in political orphanhood.”
Ramírez claimed that Morena never “institutionalized” itself as a party and as a result is now a “collection of empty bureaucracies that were left over as a product of López Obrador’s  campaign committee.”
“There are no clear rules and no pragmatic and ideological discussions,” he said.
Ramírez also warned that if poor gubernatorial candidates are chosen by Morena, the party could suffer negative consequences at the federal level as well. (All 500 lower house seats will be renewed in 2021 but the terms of the 128 senators don’t expire until 2021).
Asked whether an electoral disaster is on the horizon for Morena if it doesn’t get its house in order, Ramírez replied:
“I don’t know if there will be a disaster but there will be complications, turbulence and of course we’ll lose the majority [in the lower house of Congress].”