Sunday, September 9, 2012

López Obrador breaks with leftist coalition, forms new party and calls for peaceful civil disobedience on Dec. 1

AMLO's departure from Movimiento Progresista marks an end to "political schizophrenia" on the left

*Updated Nov. 21*
Defeated presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador told supporters at a Mexico City rally today that he would leave the leftist political coalition known as Movimiento Progresista (MP) and form a new party. MP won about 32% of the ballots cast in the July 1 national election, which offered voters four choices across a broad political spectrum.

MP is composed of three parties: Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), or the Democratic Revolution Party; Partido del Trabajo, or Workers' Party; and Movimiento Ciudadano, the Citizens' Movement.

López Obrador will become the leader of a fourth leftist party, Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA), the National Regeneration Movement, which will chart its own political course apart from MP.

López Obrador made the widely-expected announcement in the capital city's zócalo, or main plaza, earlier today. Observers said that the huge outdoor venue was less than half full, the crowd a fraction of what previous Movimiento Progresista events have drawn in recent weeks (Mexico awaits a show of López Obrador muscle).

Some used the rally as another opportunity to denounce the incoming government. Press sources reported that one AMLO supporter at the event carried a sign which read, "Peña asesino, no vivirás tranquilo" - "Killer Peña, you won't be at peace." Enrique Peña Nieto, leader of Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), will be sworn in as the country's next president on Dec. 1. PRI ruled Mexico from 1929 until 2000, when it was defeated by Vicente Fox, who helped form the modern National Action Party (PAN). PAN held Mexico's presidency from 2000 to 2012. The outgoing PAN president is Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, whose six year term began Dec. 1, 2006 and ends in 75 days.

López Obrador told the crowd, "This is not an internal party rupture, I'm leaving on the best of terms. As I separate myself from Movimiento Progresista, I do so with the most profound thanks to all of its leaders and loyal supporters. And in particular I want to say to PRD: we're still standing side by side, we're at peace. Together we can awaken Mexico, and bring about its political rebirth. I believe my decision will help to strengthen and renew Movimiento Progresista," he added.

The 59 year old populist leader, who once served as governor of Mexico's Federal District, said that Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional would select a national executive board in mid-November.

López Obrador said that "violence is no (political) alternative," but emphasized that he would never accept Enrique Peña Nieto as the legitimate president of Mexico. He called for acts of "peaceful civil disobedience" on Dec. 1, the day the government will change hands.

The candidate once again had harsh words for Mexico's federal election commission (IFE), as well as for the seven judge federal electoral court (TEPJ) which on Aug. 30 unanimously rejected his claims of systemic fraud, ruling that Peña Nieto had fairly won the July 1 presidential contest. AMLO told supporters that both bodies were composed of persons "without conviction, part of an anti-democratic regime."

López Obrador lashed out at the media again, too. "The majority of the newspapers in this country, and powerful networks like Televisa and Milenio, became Enrique Peña Nieto's biggest sponsors."

AMLO's departure from Movimiento Progresista was viewed with no small degree of relief by some leftist leaders here, who have come to regard him as a prima donna, far more focused on his own political fortunes than on the movement itself. The left has shown real political muscle in Mexico's last two presidential elections, and has popular leaders on the national horizon, including the outgoing PRD boss of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard. One party official noted that López Obrador's decision to carve out his own political trail will end the "political schizophrenia" felt by Movimiento Progresista, whose members were torn between the fiery candidate and the broader goals of the leftist movement.

Nov. 21 - Manuel López Obrador today called Peña Nieto and the latter's incoming PRI administration a "band of criminals, the same sinister people as Calderón and PAN." AMLO said his new MORENA party would stage peaceful demonstrations in 10 days, when the government changes hands Dec. 1.

Aug. 31 - Manuel López Obrador is still in the ring, and still slugging
July 15 - Spain's El País blasts López Obrador
July 11 - Memo to Andrés Manuel López Obrador: "¡Ya basta, señor!" (Give it a REST, sir)

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