Mexico City – Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, accused President Felipe Calderon of acting "irresponsibly" and seeking to promote electoral interests with his recent comments about certain sectors of the opposition party.
The PRI is looking at the possibility of taking legal action against Calderon, who alleged that certain sectors of the party were willing to negotiate with criminal organizations in the past and might do so again now, party spokesmen said.
Calderon made the comments in an interview published over the weekend by The New York Times.
"There are many in the PRI who think the deals of the past would work now. I don't see what deal could be done, but that is a mentality that many of them have," the president said in response to a question about the PRI's reputation for having dealt with criminal organizations.
Calderon "has acted irresponsibly, rashly and with electoral intentions," the PRI's Senate spokesman, Sen. Carlos Jimenez Macias, told Efe.
The president opted to "step aside from his role as head of state and act as the leader of his party," the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, ahead of next year's presidential election, Jimenez Macias said.
The PRI has a majority in the lower house of Congress and has the second-largest number of seats in the Senate, and it is leading in the polls for the July 1, 2012, presidential election.
Calderon's statements are "very regrettable" and "not very responsible," PRI national executive committee spokesman David Penchyna told Milenio television.
The president should behave like a head of state "and not like the head of his political party," Penchyna said.
The PRI is conducting "internal consultations" on the possibility of filing a complaint against Calderon with the Attorney General's Office and the Electoral Tribunal for slander, party spokesmen in the Senate told Efe.
The PRI's "legal areas" are analyzing a possible complaint "with the appropriate authorities," Penchyna said, without providing further details.
It is "highly likely" that the party will take legal action against Calderon unless he makes "a gesture to the PRI and retracts his comments," the party spokesmen in the Senate said.
Calderon told The New York Times that former Nuevo Leon Gov. Socrates Rizzo was among the PRI members who cut deals with criminal organizations.
"There are many in the PRI who agree with the policy I have, at least they say so in secret, while publicly they may say something else," Calderon told The New York Times.
"But if Mexico triumphs as I am sure it will, if Mexico subdues the criminals and reconstructs its social fabric, there will also be those that remember me as the president who dared take on the criminals," the president said.