Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION LESLIE BASSETT FOR REASONS 1.4(B ) AND (D)
1. (C) Summary. DCM met with President-elect Felipe Calderon foreign policy advisor Arturo Sarukhan September 7. Sarukhan said that during the transition, Juan Camilo Mourino would be responsible for developing the 2007 budget with the current government; ex-advisor to President Fox Eduardo Sojo would look at reorganizing the cabinet and the Presidential administration; and Josefina Vazquez Mota would negotiate with opposition parties to form a coalition. He was optimistic about negotiations with the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). On the bilateral relationship, he criticized the Fox External Relations Secretariat (SRE) for losing its central role on the bilateral agenda, especially with respect to counternarcotics and said the Calderon team would work to "correct the situation." End Summary.
2. (C) DCM met briefly with Calderon foreign policy advisor Arturo Sarukhan September 7. Sarukhan reported that Calderon was taking a three-pronged approach to the transition. Former National Action Party (PAN) Deputy and Undersecretary for Electricity under Calderon, Juan Camilo Mourino was leading the effort to liaise with secretariats and develop the 2007 fiscal budget which will be due December 15, 2006, two weeks after the inauguration. Former Fox Presidential advisor Eduardo Sojo was examining the bureaucratic structure of the cabinet and the organization at Los Pinos to recommend changes; while former Fox Social Development Secretary, Josefina Vazquez Mota works with Congress to build a political coalition to support the PAN.
3. (C) The team was currently "examining different scenarios" for congressional support for Calderon in a process Sarukhan expected would last until inauguration day December 1. He remained optimistic about creating a workable governing coalition with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and that the PRD that would permit the inauguration ceremony to go forward and avoid the tactics the PRD used September 1 to prevent President Fox from presenting his State of the Union address to Congress. While the PRD would deny they were in discussions with the PAN, Sarukhan pointed to three separate groups with which they were negotiating: one led by Mexico City Mayor-elect Marcelo Ebrhard; the PRD governors of Michoacan, Zacatecas, and Guerrero; and the PRD congressional delegation.
4. (C) He added that negotiations with the PRD had led the opposition protestors under PRD candidate Lopez Obrador to say they would "return Reforma to the citizens of Mexico" by September 14, in time for the "Grito" celebration and the traditional September 16 military parade down the Avenue. Sarukhan added, however, that after Calderon's September 6 decision to skirt the PRD blockade of the electoral tribunal offices and pick up the certificate naming him the winner of the elections after entering through the rear door, cooperation may be set back.
5. (C) Despite the unwieldiness of having the Congressional term start September 1, three months before the President's inauguration. Sarukhan was hopeful that the PAN Congressional delegation would be able to get some initiatives passed before Calderon took office to provide him with an "early harvest of successes" and make the "first 100-day" measure of the Calderon presidency more successful.
6. (C) Turning to foreign affairs, Sarukhan said the SRE was "in shambles," adding that it would "not be easy to get it up and running by December 1." On migration, Sarukhan said the Fox's greatest mistake was mis-reading the post 9/11 shift in U.S. opinion on the issue, and failing to respond. The ensuing "policy vacuum" gave rise to anti-migrant rhetoric in the media and in Congress. Allowing the SRE to abdicate its "central role on U.S.-Mexico bilateral issues, especially in counternarcotics" that had been achieved through the "High-level Contact Group" was a significant error, and Calderon's SRE would have to work to make up this "lost ground."
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