Pact for Mexico divides country’s conservative opposition

PAN split emerges as Peña Nieto’s reforms get rubber stamp

Mexico City -
Mexico's President Enrique PeÑa Nieto (right) speaks to PAN leader Gustavo Madero.
Mexico's President Enrique PeÑa Nieto (right) speaks to PAN leader Gustavo Madero.Alexandre Meneghini

Nearly six months after the signing of a historic and far-reaching agreement by the country’s three major parties, which committed them to supporting a series of sweeping institutional reforms, the so-called Pact for Mexico has claimed its first victim.

On Sunday, the president of the National Action Party (PAN), Gustavo Madero, officially removed Ernesto Cordero from his role as PAN leader in the Senate.

The move had been rumored for some time, but it confirms that there are deep rifts inside the PAN between supporters of former President Felipe Calderón and members who were kept on the sidelines during the last six-year term.

Madero surprised his conservative colleagues on Tuesday by naming Jorge Luis Preciado Rodríguez — a member with little political weight — as Cordero’s replacement as leader in the upper chamber. On Sunday, 24 of the 38 senators made public a letter in which they voiced support for Cordero, a former treasury secretary under Calderón, as their party’s new Senate leader. Aside from the personal disputes and frustrated political ambitions among members of the PAN, those from Calderón’s own faction believe that the Pact for Mexico has become nothing more than a rubber-stamp policy paper for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Madero’s patience ran out when Cordero announced that he would present his own political and electoral reforms in the Senate later this month, measures that were not addressed in the pact signed by the PAN, PRI and the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) last December. Cordero has been very critical of the Pact for Mexico. The former treasury secretary’s own initiative has won some support in the PRD.

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