The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

En Mexíco, hubo un disastre, y todavía no está resuelto

Perhaps, admidst all of the hubhub in Lebanon, you might have missed another major world news story that is happening much closer to home, namely, the disputed election in Mexíco that took place in Mexico. The initial count left a 2.6% margin between the two leading candidates, Felipe Calderón (the, "rightist" candidate), and López Obrador, the leftist candidate. A recount of several close/disputed districts was called for and granted. Most of these districts subsequently swung for Obrador, resulting in a margin of less than a percent between the two candidates. This subsequently led Obrador and his party to make accusations of widespread vote fraud, and collusion between Calderón's PAN party and the PRI*, in order to keep Obrador out of power. The PRI would supposedly gain the advantage of keeping the more radical and anti-corporate/institutional candidate out of power (and thus maintain what is left of their strenght), while PAN would obviously gain from Calderón's presidency.

Upon completion of the recount, Calderón declared victory in the election, but Obrador has continued to dispute the results. Obrador and his party, the CPD, have filed a suit in the Mexican Electoral Court with the expectation of obtaining a full national vote-by-vote recount of the election. An electoral court magistrate has already announced that a ruling for a full recount is unlikely, which has also sparked widespread anger.

Obrador has also been maintiaining pressure on the whole system by holding mass rallies, mobilizing his supporters, who are primarily the poor. There is much specuation that, if the Electoral Court rejects the recount request, that there will be mass unrest in the country, as the lower classes, en masse, reject the election resluts.

Anyway, it is certainly something to keep an eye on, and that the US media seems completely unconcerned with--strange considering that a revolution in a bordering country isn't something that can be completely ruled out--disputed elections can destablize a country as much as anything.

As for my opinion, I have trouble doubting whether at at least some of Obrador's claims are true. There is some evidence that some of his allegations have been false, as the evidence hasn't held up, but in a country with the institutional history that Mexico has, there has been electoral fraud in the past, and if a close result swings in favor of the establishment candidate, there should be more than an eyebrow raised about the validity of the results.#

*The PRI, or the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, was the only party to hold power for the 70 years previous to Viciente Fox of the PAN party winning the Mexicano Presidency six years ago. It is generally socialist in it's ideology, but really is more a party that supports the traditional machine polciies--maintaining power through use of patronage. It was rightly considered extremely corrupt, and has been discredited in recent years--the PRI candidate garnered only about 24% of the vote in the 2006 elections.

#by the way, this isn't to say that the US is any better--one should be heavily suspicious of the results in the 2000 Presidential election in Flordia, and the 2004 election in Ohio, given the extreme partisanship of the people collecting the votes, and the odd manner in which the disputes were handled. Ugh.


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