The creation of the Pact for Mexico caused great impact because, for the first time, a presidential proposal was made to group the three parties that have been historically opponents: the PRI, PAN and PRD. The pact created high expectations, regarding the progress that could be achieved if the three main parties worked under the same goals: the strengthening of the Mexican State; the democratization of the economy and politics, the expansion and the successful implementation of social rights; and citizen participation in the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies.
Nevertheless, the pact is struggling due to the allegations of the President of PAN, Gustavo Madero, that the Minister of Social Development, Rosario Robles Berlanga, and the formal Governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, are using social programs for electoral purposes. Last week, Madero demanded that Robles Berlanga stepped down while investigations continue.
However, the Peña Nieto minimised the extent of the scandal and portrayed Robles Berlanga as a victim. Due to the president’s respond, Madero announced that the PAN would not attend the government’s presentation of the financial reform. As a result of the PAN’s announcement, Peña Nieto postponed the financial reform presentation, in order to open a space for dialogue to overcome the “disagreements”.
Nevertheless, the PAN made its statement very clear: it will not assist to any meeting, reform discussions or anything related to the pact,until Robles Berlanga had been investigated. The scandal and subsequent threats of the PAN has become Peña Nieto’s first mayor political crisis since he took office in December 2012, and might set the tone of his administration.
The situation is very delicate and might become the beginning of the end for the Pact of Mexico, affecting the possibilities of structural reforms that could ensure economic growth and further foreign investment in the country, among many advantages that these reforms might bring. Jesús Zambrano – the PRD leader– is well aware of that and believes that the President’s decision is a good sign that favors agreements among the different political forces. “I hope that in the next few hours we can meet with the PAN and PRI leaders, and the federal government to resume dialogue,” he commented in a radio interview earlier today. Hopefully, this is only a minor setback and the Pact for Mexico continues to be a milestone in Mexican political history.