19 November 2008
Encinas sticking with split PRD
BY DAVID AGREN
Democratic Revolution Party leadership runner-up Alejandro Encinas ended speculation over his political future Tuesday, announcing his intentions to stay in the PRD.
He will continue leading a coalition of factions in the nation's largest left-wing party, he said, declining to take the No. 2 position in the party's National Executive Council.
The former Mexico City mayor, who was last week confirmed the loser of the PRD's March 16 presidency contest by a federal tribunal, had floated the possibility that he might split from the PRD after his rival and leader of the moderate PRD faction known as the New Left, Jesús Ortega, was declared the winner.
But on Tuesday, he expressed solidarity with his party, if not Ortega's part of it.
"We're not leaving the PRD; this is our party, the party that we founded . It's the result of decades of work," he told supporters in Mexico City.
Encinas also announced plans for a new social movement - not unlike the petroleum defense movement launched by his political patron, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - that he would fight to rid the PRD of problems that he said included patronage and increasing bureaucratization.
"We won't leave the party to those who have been entrenched in its bureaucracy. Far from staying in the trenches, we're going to fight from inside [the party]."
The fight could prove difficult. Ortega already controls much of the party infrastructure, and can now exert increased influence over the candidate nomination process for the 2009 midterms.
The Ortega strategy, which calls for the party to cooperate with political rivals and negotiate with the federal government, is also expected to become more common with his ascent to the PRD presidency.
Ortega takes office on Nov. 30, more than eight months after PRD members went to the polls in an election that was originally annulled due to widespread irregularities. Encinas' United Left, whose members allege that the 2006 presidential election was rigged, said that the same chicanery was rife in the PRD election. Encinas unsuccessfully petitioned for the results from disputed polling stations in Ortega strongholds to be eliminated from the final vote count.
The electoral tribunal known as the Trife sided with Ortega, however. Encinas rebuked the Trife on Tuesday for intervening in an internal party matter and once again making "a political decision" against his factions. He said that accepting the No. 2 PRD position would have validated the Trife ruling.
"I can't sweep this garbage under the rug and I don't want to be an accomplice to those that commit abuses and irregularities," he said. "[The ruling] is a coup against our party by an authoritarian and intolerant state."
Encinas' decision to stick with the PRD was not entirely unexpected, as it is too late to form a new political party for 2009, and leaving would mean giving up annual public financing of more than 400 million pesos.