Tuesday, June 6

The succession of López Obrador and the six-year crises

The greatest challenge for President López Obrador will be to conclude his six-year term without him presenting himself a political or financial crisis. Perhaps many no longer remember it, but in the history of Mexico the succession processes and the end of the six-year term brought with them what became known as ‘six-year crises’.

At the end of the six-year terms, a situation of political or financial instability broke out, sometimes associated with issues related to the presidential succession. Let’s do some history.

Until the year 2000, the PRI and its predecessors headed the presidency of the Republic since Plutarco Elías Calles founded the National Revolutionary Party in March 1929. Strictly speaking, There was no democracy in Mexico as we know it today.. Only one party could, de facto, lead the presidency.

And the uses and customs of Mexican politics established that the acting president appointed the presidential candidate of the party in power, which in practical terms meant choosing his successor in the presidency.

That designation considered both the president’s personal preferences and his interests and the perception of the political environment that existed. the real competition for the presidency of the Republic did not happen through an electoral process but it was the one that occurred between the candidates of the party in power.

And it was a struggle to win the president’s will. For convincing him that they were his best option.

Between 1934 and 2000, this is how the PRI candidates and their predecessors were designated.

The victory of Vicente Fox and the first alternation in executive power broke this cycle. However, today, given the current environment in which Morena has a large majority in electoral preferences and the opposition parties, at least until now, no represent an option due to their weakness, it seems that the succession is going to look like what happened in the old days, with all the risks that this brings.

A case that many remember was presented in 1993. The designation of Luis Donaldo Colosio as a candidate generated division and unleashed the fury of Manuel Camacho. Colosio’s assassination, the Zapatista rebellion, and the political events of that tragic year produced a division between the triumphant PRI candidate, Ernesto Zedillo, and President Salinas.

The lack of coordination turned into a major crisis what would have been perhaps only a delicate situation and a brake on growth.

Other crises had occurred in the past. At the end of the Díaz Ordaz period, a political crisis; in 1976, a financial crisis; in 1982, a serious debt crisis that was responded to with bank expropriation.

And it also produced a political crisis in 1988 after a sequence of financial crises during almost the entire six-year term of Miguel de la Madrid. In short, at the end of their periods, and in the framework of the internal struggle between the candidates to succeed them, the presidents lost control of the governance of the country.

The concentration of power, the internal fractures and the loss of investor confidence have shaken the country many times.

We think that the democratic institutions that were built in this century had banished the risk to go through those crises at the end of the six-year term again.

The problem is that today, those institutions that gave stability are under siege.

We hope that as a country, we have learned the lessons that this long history has left us and that we do not have to live through a new crisis at the end of the six-year term that would cost millions of Mexicans much pain.