Silence after the storm. Marcelo Ebrard launched his latest statement on Monday, insisting that if the survey that promoted Claudia Sheinbaum as Morena’s presidential candidate is not repeated, he is willing to break with the party. Since then, there have been hardly any more public statements, spreading a tense calm inside and outside the party. The pulse of the former chancellor after being defeated is causing a mixture of discomfort and expectation. Within Morena they want the conflict to end soon and are striving to present an image of unity, while they are aware of the cost of the internal campaign of attrition that the former chancellor has already started. Outside, the opposition recognizes rapprochements with Ebrard, that although he has rejected for now the possibility of playing on that side, he has also been ambiguous enough to allow himself to be loved. In several interviews he has assured that he will also be on the ballot next year contesting the presidency. The question is, first, if he really will do it, and second, with what party. Although he has bought some time, the deadline for him to make a final decision is running out.
After he formally denounced the irregularities in the Morena prison, Ebrard said that he will form a “national political movement” and announced a tour of the country to promote his cause. The former chancellor has justified his decision as a gesture of exemplarity, a reminder that the party founded by Andrés Manuel López Obrador has as its founding mark banishing the corrupt and clientelistic practices of the past from within. Sheinbaum’s team interprets that Ebrard intends to become the moral conscience of the party, “the little cricket that is reminding him of the failures of the process,” according to a collaborator of the candidate.
The route outlined by Ebrard is similar to what his political mentor, Manuel Camacho Solís, did when, in the context of the 1994 presidential elections, he felt displaced in the PRI and launched a campaign parallel to the candidate then chosen, Luis Donaldo. Colossium. That strategy effectively ended in a breakup. Colosio was assassinated, but not even his place was taken by Camacho, but by a third candidate, Ernesto Zedillo, which made Camacho note that he never had the approval of the then president and great elector, Carlos Salinas de Gortari. . It remains to be seen if Ebrard follows to the letter the footsteps of his former father figure in political terms.
Marcelo Ebrard greets Manuel Camacho Solís at a celebration for the anniversary of the PRD, on May 5, 2010 in Mexico City. MARCO POLO GUZMÁN (Cuartoscuro)
At the moment, Morena is already showing the wear and tear caused by the uncomfortable place in which Ebrard has decided to place himself. The ceremony of handing over the baton to Sheinbaum sought to shift the focus of attention and neutralize the former chancellor’s criticism in pursuit of an image of unity and strength within the party. The announcement of the new positions for the rest of the presidential candidates within Sheinbaum’s campaign team had the same objective. But the stone in the shoe is still there. “Let this be fixed now,” summarizes from those around the former capital boss, also aware that Ebrard’s strategy involves making noise outside to negotiate inside.
He has publicly rejected the position that would fall to him in the next six-year term according to the agreements reached before the internal pre-campaign: coordinator of the Senate bench. Within the party, they do not rule out, however, that in the end this will be the best possible fit. During this week, important cadres of the former chancellor’s team have found accommodation in the party’s governing structures. At least two sources from the cherry formation affirm that, in fact, one of Ebrard’s priority tasks is “placing his people.” They even suggest that the contacts with the Citizen Movement (MC) could have that purpose: to integrate a handful of deputies aligned with Ebrard into the orange party, not necessarily linked to Morena, but with an independent profile. A movement that can serve both for a softer future landing in the formation, and to have a more fluid negotiation path with the cherry party with an eye on the parliamentary balances of the coming six-year term.
Inside MC they recognize that the dialogue between the leader, Dante Delgado, and Ebrard is open. “There is good communication. Respectful,” a member of the orange party leadership told this newspaper. The former chancellor’s circle of collaborators point out without reservation that the possibility of Ebrard joining the ranks of that party has been put on the table. “It’s a stage. I think that on the MC side they are more interested in Marcelo leaving with them,” says an advisor to the former official.
Dante Delgado and Ebrard have had a friendship for several years and have made it evident. After leaving the position of head of Government of Mexico City (2006-2012), Ebrard was subject to strong persecution by the Enrique Peña Nieto Administration. The president accused him of having leaked to the media information related to a conflict of interest that involved the presidential family and a builder. In 2015, Ebrard tried to win a place in the federal Congress through the PRD, a party in which he was still a member. But the leadership, then controlled by the political group known as Los Chuchos, closed the doors to him. By that time, the PRD was already delivered into the arms of Peña Nieto’s PRI, after the signing of the Pact for Mexico.
Marcelo Ebrard and Dante Delgado in Mexico City in April 2015.Isaac Esquivel Monroy (Cuartoscuro)
Reaching Congress would have given Ebrard a break, since in Mexico legislators have legal protection called jurisdiction, which makes it difficult for authorities to commit abuses against them. Given the closure in the PRD, Dante Delgado opened the doors of MC. Ebrard registered as a candidate for that party, but the PRD and others challenged his candidacy. Finally, the Electoral Court ruled against him, with a project prepared by magistrate María del Carmen Alanís, close to the Peña Nieto Government. Cornered, Ebrard thanked Delgado for his help and fled Mexico. He returned until 2017, to help López Obrador’s presidential campaign. The former chancellor says in his autobiography The Road to Mexico that the blockade of his aspirations was an armed plan between the Peña Nieto government and the leadership of the PRD. The Chuchos were Jesús Ortega and Jesús Zambrano, who, after the 2012 elections, definitively broke with López Obrador and his closest collaborators, including Ebrard.
This past explains why a rapprochement between the former chancellor and the Frente Amplio por México, the opposition coalition made up of PAN, PRI and PRD, is difficult. A leader who is part of the Front’s board of directors has told this newspaper that within the coalition the possibility of searching for Ebrard has been put on the table, but that Zambrano has firmly expressed his refusal. The leader of the PAN, Marko Cortés, who has greater weight in decision-making within the Front, launched this week what seems to be a nod to Ebrard. “We are waiting for you here,” declared the PAN member. The scenario where Ebrard plays with the Front is more unlikely than the one envisioned with MC, mainly because the opposition coalition has already defined that its standard-bearer will be Senator Xóchitl Gálvez. Going to a platform where the presidential candidacy is not guaranteed does not seem to compensate for the enormous cost of breaking with Morena and López Obrador.
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