Intriguing developments on the eve of Peña Nieto’s inauguration: at the impulse of the incoming president, leaders of Mexico’s three main parties have agreed to a basic program of reforms that, in theory, will address some of the country’s biggest problems. It’s not surprising that Peña Nieto and his advisors were eager to set the legislative bases for serious reforms and in doing so, set the agenda. Neither is it surprising, however, that this has all happened behind closed doors. According to El Universal, the PAN and particularly PRD cadres are not happy about how the so-called Pacto por Mexico went down. There’s also a profound irony, here, in Videgaray’s assertion that: “Peña gobernará con la convicción de que México es y seguirá siendo una democracia” – there is very little democratic about old-style backroom agreements.

That said, however, the cynical optimist in me is inclined to believe that there may actually be hope. The PRD leaders involved in the pact are from the moderate faction (López Obrador has already pulled off most of his radical supporters to his newly founded Morena party) and if they can hold a principled line while agreeing to moderate compromises, and if the PAN can discover a set of principles, and if Peña Nieto’s team can put forward realistic, meaningful reform projects… then the top-down pact model of governing could cut through the gridlock that bogged down the past 12 years.