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Cablegate: Calderon Names Fernando Francisco Gomez Mont New

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RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #3342/01 3152321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 102321Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3936
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 003342

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SNAR KCRM MX
SUBJECT: CALDERON NAMES FERNANDO FRANCISCO GOMEZ MONT NEW
SECRETARY OF GOVERNMENT.

1. (SBU) Summary: In an early morning press conference
November 10, President Calderon named Fernando Francisco
Gomez Mont to replace Juan Camilo Mouri$o, who perished in
last weekQ,s jet crash in Mexico City. Gomez Mont is hailed
by many in his party as a solid pick, who will help knit PAN
together as a cohesive party while advancing president
CalderonQ,s political and security agenda. Some
commentators, however, immediately questioned whether baggage
he accumulated as a private lawyer might undermine his
effectiveness. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Son of one of the partyQ,s founders, Gomez Mont is
a longtime PAN activist who has managed to keep a low
political profile while taking on high profile legal cases.
He became an active PAN partisan as an adolescent shortly
after his fatherQ,s death. In the early 1990s, he was a
Federal Deputy, a party representative in MexicoQ,s Federal
Electoral Institute and a member of the PAN Central
Committee. He left that post in 1995 to found his own law
firm. His prior work in the party and government suggest a
technocratic and reformist bent: while in congress in the
early 1990s, he worked legal reform issues, authoring several
criminal law and public security reform bills. He was also
instrumental in crafting a reform of how Mexican Supreme
Court justices were selected in 1994, giving MexicoQ,s Senate
responsibility for choosing among a slate of three candidates
presented by the President.

3. (SBU) Analysts contacted by poloffs on November 10 said
they expected him to carve out a prominent role advancing
CalderonQ,s reform package in Congress, drawing heavily on
his own expertise and that of recently appointed presidential
domestic security advisor, Jorge Tello.

4. (SBU) Our contacts also agreed the pick was probably
also designed to bring the party in the advent of legislative
elections next year. While it is not wracked by the kind of
intense factionalism that has undermined the opposition PRD
in recent months, PAN remains a party divided. The
replacement of former party president Manuel Espino by
Calderon loyalist German Martinez has not galvanized the
party faithful so far. Recent electoral losses have
accentuated party bickering to the extent that President
Calderon used a party memorial to Mouri$o on November 9 as an
occasion to chastise PAN members for their divisions.

5. (SBU) Gomez Mont is in his mid-forties but close to a
PAN generation that Fox had antagonized during his term and
Calderon had ignored up until now. It is comprised of
old-guard PANistas who feel they've been disrespected by
upstarts in recent years after building the party base in the
1980s and 1990s and positioning it for victory in 2000.
They represent a fairly sizable block in the party and their
support is needed if PAN is to pull together and minimize
further electoral losses in the near term.

6. (SBU) Some observers here noted the widespread business
interests he has accumulated over his years in private
practice, as well as his reputation for representing
controversial clients may undermine his overall
effectiveness. The new SEGOB defended Carlos and Raul
Salinas, as well as Rogelio Montemeyor, an ex-director of
PEMEX who was implicated in the misuse of union funds in the
late 1990s. One analyst we spoke with said while his
business ties and client list wonQ,t undermine his
effectiveness among members of Mexico's political class he'll
need to work with as SEGOB, they may subject him to a certain
amount of second-guessing in the media.

7. (SBU) Most say Gomez MontQ,s cross-party ties will serve
him well. He developed strong PRI contact base as a legal
reform advisor to President Ernesto Zedillo in the late
1990s, and he works well with mainstream PRD members, said
one of our contacts. Most important, he harbors no
presidential ambitions (at least at this juncture) and won't
likely draw the fire that Mouri$o did from elements in the
political class seeking to weaken possible competitors well
before 2012.

8. (SBU) Comment: Calderon obviously wants a smart, but
detached party loyalist to sharpen the legal and law
enforcement reform; Gomez Mont's ability to reach out across
cross-party ties to get things done suggest he may also serve
as an effective politico who can work congress and issues

MEXICO 00003342 002 OF 002


related to upcoming legislative elections.

Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
GARZA

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