Zavala and Calderón will launch new political party next year. Zavala and Calderón will launch new political party next year.

Ex-president’s resignation seen as reflection of crisis within party

Felipe Calderón has left the National Action Party and will launch a new one next year

Former president Felipe Calderón’s decision to quit the National Action Party (PAN) is indicative of a “deep crisis” within the party, according to an ex-PAN lawmaker.

Calderón, who governed Mexico for the conservative PAN between 2006 and 2012, announced Sunday that he was leaving the party.

In a two-page letter addressed to the party president, the ex-president outlined a range of reasons for his decision to quit.

They included the PAN ceasing to be “an instrument of citizen participation for the construction of a better Mexico,” the abandonment of “the fundamental principles, basic ideas and proposals” of the party and the destruction of “internal democracy” by the party leadership.

“Mexico urgently needs an option for political participation . . . [with] new citizen voices, especially young people. Remaining in the PAN only implies a detour [from that course] and a net loss of time, resources and organizational capacity that must be dedicated to driving the [new] force forward . . .” Calderón wrote.

Roberto Gil, who has served as both a senator and deputy for the PAN, told the newspaper El Financiero that Calderón’s departure is “bad news for the party” and “reveals the deep crisis of our party [and] the crisis of our own ability to build spaces for internal dialogue and to maintain the unity of the organization.”

He also said that the ex-president’s letter made difficult reading because “it reveals what has been happening to us over the past few years.”

The PAN’s candidate for president in the July 1 election, Ricardo Anaya, finished runner-up to president-elect López Obrador but only received 22% of the popular vote.

Other panistas, as members and supporters of the party are known, also expressed disappointment that Calderón had decided to quit although they stressed that they don’t share his views.

Héctor Larios, who was elected as the party’s new secretary general the same day Calderón quit, said the former president was within his right to leave and that he respected his decision.

“I regret the resignation of any member of the party, more so when it’s someone who was president of the republic, but I don’t necessarily share his ideas,” he said.

“He has the right to try another option but what’s important is to strengthen the party that already exists and which has the greatest possibility of being a brake on what’s to come,” he added, referring to the new leftist government that will be led by López Obrador.

Larios will serve the party under new national president Marko Cortés, a 41-year-old former lawmaker who won 79% of the vote in the leadership ballot.

Cortés’ opponent for the party presidency – and Calderón’s preferred candidate ­– Manuel Gómez Morin garnered just 21% support.

Calderón said in an interview last week that the PAN had been “completely destroyed” and was incapable of confronting the new government.

However, he contended that the party could remedy the situation by choosing Gómez, a veteran politician, as its new president because it is currently controlled “by the group that destroyed it.”

Whether he goes ahead with the launch of a new party will be decided in large measure by the choice the PAN makes, Calderón said.

Within that context, Calderón’s wife Margarita Zavala announced yesterday that she and her husband would indeed create a new party.

She said in a radio interview that the new party would be launched in January and would be called Libertad (Freedom).

“The name will be Libertad, it’s a cardinal rule, it’s not the only [party] value but through this value we can fight for ourselves, for the truth, for justice and for public honesty but we have to wait for it to be approved by authorities,” Zavala said.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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