Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The Day After: Mexico's Electoral Chaos

by XicanoPwr Fri Jul 7th, 2006 at 10:24:08 PM EST

After Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) vote count, the IFE declared Felipe Calderón the top vote-getter in what is seen as the tightest presidential election in Mexico's history.

Final Count:
Felipe Calderón: 35.88%
Andrés Manuel López Obrador: 35.31%
Difference/Diferencia - 0.57 pts

What seemed to be a López Obrador victory on July 5, was nothing but an illusion. During the hard count, which López Obrador enjoyed a lead all day, AMLO saw his lead fall to under 0.5 percentage points after 94% of the votes were counted, AMLO with 35.84%, while Felipe Calderon was at 35.35%.


López Obrador, his supporters, the 2.5 million voters who were thrown out, and many others have publicly questioned the results. That day, López Obrador announced he will challenge the vote count in the Electoral Tribunal.

López Obrador demanded that electoral officials carry out a manual ballot-by-ballot count, instead of just tallying vote totals as they have been doing.

But Luis Carlos Ugalde, president of the Federal Electoral Institute, said that was not possible.

"Mexican law is very clear on when a ballot box can be opened: only when there are problems with the vote tallies, when the tally sheet has obviously been changed, or when the box has been tampered with," Ugalde said.

The close race has opened up doubts about the legitimacy of the winner and this is the one scenario that the IFE hoped to avoid. Unlike here in the United States, when legitimacy is questioned it can lead to mass protests with the claim that the public's will has been violated. Another scenario that the IFE was hoping to avoid. Unfortunately, it will soon become IFE's nightmare. Soon after IFE announcement, López Obrador called on his supporters to rally in Mexico City's vast central square.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has a history of mobilizing millions, had called on his supporters to turn out Saturday in the capital.
Mexico is a literal powder keg ready to explode and this is raising fears that Saturday's protests will lead to unrest. If those who manipulated the election figured the Mexican people were going to act apathetically as their American counter-part, they better think again. According to CNN, there are already scattered protests through out Mexico, the day before the mass rally, "including one in front of the Federal Electoral Institute". Once López Obrador raised concern of election fraud, that was enough set off a chain reaction in a country already known for its corruption and a history of electoral fraud.

Mass rallies are now called throughout Mexico. Frustrated coalitions groups, the telephone workers union, the national workers union among others are urging for people to join in civil resistance to defend the "legality of the vote."

Calderón may callously try to quell the rising fears, especially among his base and offer an olive branch to ALMO, but it is the other side is not buying false peace offering. They have seen this scenario before in 1988 when the newly formed PRD actually won the presidential elections and then have taken away from them when the computer system that was counting the vote "crashed".

The government installed a highly touted computerized vote tabulation system, offering to let opposition CFE representatives monitor it on election night. But one representative from PAN became frustrated with the slow trickle of results. He noticed that CFE technicians loyal to the PRI were using a different entry code than the one supplied to him. Upon entering it, he gained access to the file where the actual results were being compiled, and found that he and the other CFE opposition members were being fed carefully edited numbers. When he tried to print the screen that showed opposition candidates leading, CFE technicians became alarmed; they placed a phone call, and within minutes the computer shut down.
After the dust settled - protests, repression and demands for a real count - it was the PAN and PRI who decided it was better to burn the evidence - ballots of their dirty work. And it is event that continues to stay in a lot of people's memory and this time around they will refuse to be pushed around from the wealthy - the haves - this time around, the disenfranchised mean business. The IFE, the PAN, Fox and Calderón are playing with fire and it is unwise to play down their outrage, especially when people use the words like revolt and revolution.
Outside Mr. López Obrador's campaign headquarters, dozens of supporters - some crying or shouting profanities - urged their candidate to take the fight to the streets. Amid cries of, "If there's no solution, there will be a revolution," supporters vowed to deliver a long, bitter summer.

"This is just beginning," said Elena de la Torre, a history professor and protest organizer. "We're ready for a long fight, not for the PRD, or for López Obrador, but for this nation. We have to rescue our values, rescue our country from these right-wingers."

Marien Villalobos, 22, a university student, sobbed as her mother, 51-year-old Cecilia Garza, consoled her. Both called for a vote-by-vote recount as a way to unite the country.

A full vote count is just a first step. But to really heal the country, an investigations must occur and explain missing votes and the lack of ballots. Although the electoral rules changed due to the 1988 scandal, however, so has the attitude of the citizenry. Mexico is about to explode and her people are unlikely to desist until their demands for a fair election have been met.

Display:
With these differences, it is statistically appropriate to count vote by vote...

ANd a seocnd comment.. It is just mind-boggling why south-Americans do not use the spanish system

One member of each party in each precint..!!! in each table actually..all of them counting the paper ballots and all of them checking the formal act on the spot. Then, ballots thrown away and the act is all what counts...approved by a formar representative of each party!!!! (all of htem getting a copy!!!) and the act go to the justice to keep them all.. Government get the results earlier just hiring someone to send hte information of the act by phone the same nigth...but the real good computation is made by the independent panel..ANd each party has the same acts to double ehck, triple check!!!!!

It is the safest system...Keeping the ballots because there are some precints without representations of all political parties is weird...and open to manipulation.... who keeps the ballots???

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 08:30:06 AM EST
Also (and this is very important) being a poll worker is like jury duty: anyone on the voter rolls can be randomly selected to work the polls. This ensures that there is sufficient manpower to have a speedy count and that poll workers are not senile volunteers, or political hacks.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 08:45:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. and political parties operatives are registered!!! they are trained by the party to watch...and recognized in every table by the table president as a memeber to discuss possible exceptional cases.

It is frankly the be system around, in seed, reliability and impossibility of no fraud whatsoever. The only possible tampering is with the census that each president of table receives.  This is given to an independent comission and each person must receive a card in his formal postal adrress telling him where he/she must vote. Any person who wants to vote but it is not in the list can complain on multiple levels and problems with the census have been nul lately.

The only way of tampering is the creation of false people. You will need the major, the local autonomy , the central state and the independent comission to work hand in hand to create false people...and hope not been caught by the political representatives (who also had a list of the census). Impossible

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 10:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at these self-congratulatory Spaniards... Shameful.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 03:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
..there are not so many things we can be proud of..:) we developed one heck of a system to monitor and control elections...

...we deserve to be proud on tihs one at least guven that football is not...:)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 05:35:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The more I think about it, the more I am proud of the Estado de las Autonomías. Not a whole lot more to be proud of... Maybe our lack of patriotism.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 9th, 2006 at 10:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been too many decades of US manipulation and centuries of the the euro-mexican white vs. mestizo/a vs. indigenous caste/class war.

And if Mexico actually did it that way, that would mean a whole shift. What scares the wealthy who live in Mexico and power elite, if the indigenous actually win, they will actually implement Zapata's Plan de Ayala. And there is no way in hell the US will allow that to happen.

I do fear there might be a revolt, the conditions are ripe, it is summer and hot.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi

by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 11:14:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you see any role for Delgado Zero in the current situation, or in the near-future?  

I have heard good things about him (his dealings with children, for example), but I have no way of verifying what I know--I wouldn't know how to tell "useful information" from "wildly misinformative nonsense".

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 09:35:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have heard the same thing as you. It is either you like him or you hate him. And that goes for both sides of the political specturm. He does a lot of good and at the same time, he does things that make you wonder WTF?

Here is a website of his writings.

Here is a good sites because he gives a summary of other progressive news site and the link:
Latin America News Review

I know what you mean about trying to figure out what believe and what not to, especially when it comes to progressive or what ever the laterst term is now.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi

by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sun Jul 9th, 2006 at 12:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Bloomberg
U.S. President George W. Bush called Calderon, 43, yesterday to congratulate him after the Federal Electoral Institute said he won a recount of 40.9 million valid votes by a margin of 0.6 percentage point. Bush told Calderon he was looking forward "to working together on a whole series of issues, unspecified, of mutual interest," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

So it looks like there will be no recount. Bush and Fox have made up their minds.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi
by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 12:46:15 PM EST
If there is a revolution in Mexico, the United States is much less able to intervene than in the past. The regular military units that would be needed to invade are in the Middle East, as are most of the National Guard.

I suppose it depends what is the highest priority. Secure oil supplies and cause chaos in Iraq (and Iran) or secure oil supplies in Mexico (and Venezuela) and cause millions of refugees to pour over the US-Mexican border. I think this is an example of imperial overstretch. No wonder Kim Il Sung is a low priority.

by Gary J on Sat Jul 8th, 2006 at 04:44:05 PM EST
Today was just a beginning. There is no way they refuse to count the votes.

However, he did get a blow from the Spain PM, because Rodriguez Zapatero congratulated Calderon. He is one of three, I don't count the other two, Dudya and the Canada's PM. Now that Bush has a lap dog in Canada, it was expected.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi

by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sun Jul 9th, 2006 at 12:36:13 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries