Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mexico: Calderon's Lead Cut By Third... and Counting

Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the Democratic Revolution Party, (PRD), listens as Claudia Scheinbaum, spokesperson for the campaign, points to a document which he purported to show irregularities in the election process, during a news conference at his headquarters office.

The Mexican Federal Election President stunned Mexicans Tuesday night when he had to embarrassingly admit authorities had failed to include 2.6 million 'irregualar' votes in the preliminary tally. This information was not made public until the PRD forced the issue publicly. Including these votes, the lead of Felipe Calderon (PAN) over Lopez Obrador (PRD) was cut by more than a third - to just over 250,000 votes, or less than .6%. Officials said there is no winner yet and that final results will wait until at least Sunday, after a re-count and verification of the tallys.

Still, many irregularities remain unsolved and many votes uncounted. Consider:

As in the US, first in Florida, then in Ohio, the exit polls are at odds with “official” polls.

Wednesday, Lopez Obrador said the vote tally registered in the preliminary count at 50,000 polling stations exceeded the number of voters registered at the stations.

Respected newsmagazine Processo is reporting a leak from the Police Intelligence office that claims (Fox/PAN) officials phoned major TV news stations and 'requested' they not provide the actual exit poll data, which showed Obrador winning. The Interior Minster ha not denied the report, but said the stations acted indpendetly out of respect for the

900,000 ballots still have not arrived at regional election headquarters to be tallied. Most come from the rural South, a bastion of strong Lopez Obrador support. If Obrador could calim about 64% of these votes he'd win the election.

Another estimated 800,000 nullified votes were likely to be scrutinized carefully in the final count.

Protesters in Mexico City carried ballots marked for Mr. López Obrador that they said they had found in dumpsters in Milpa Alta.

The head of Mexico's IFE, the electoral monitoring agency, is alleged to have had conversations with Vicente Fox on the night of the election.

Some voting places (mostly in the more conservative Northern regions) were counted twice while others were not counted at all.

There is a strikingly high percentage of votes declared 'null' - 2.14%, much larger than the gap separating the two main presidential candidates.

For the first time in Mexican eleciton history more votes were recorder for the Legislative seats than the Presidential race. That is highly suspect.

In a truly disturbing case, the FBI had obtained Mexico’s voter files under a secret “counter-terrorism” contract with the database company ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia (yes the same company involved in Florida vote-scrubbing). The firm claimed not to have known that collecting this information violated Mexican law. Mexican officials arrested Choicepoint officials, who claimed the voter lists had been burned. Such files can be very useful in challenging a voter’s right to cast a ballot or in preventing that vote from counting. What the Mexican election had to do with terror is different quesiton.

Newspaper La Jornada reported that Calderon's PAN Party has instructed its representatives at the counting centers to resist the opening of ballot boxes to recount votes, as is being requested by PRD officials. This comes after shocking comments from the (PAN) Interior Minister saying that ballots could not phyisically and legally be recounted. The IM has no role in the eleciton proceedings as Election officials are (nominally) independent. Still the head of the Election Commission is also PAN.

Despite all this, the mainstream press has already announced that Mexico’s elections were fair and clean, which would be a first for that country where Lopez Obrador’s party has seen its candidates defeated by “blatant fraud” twice before. Most have also declared Calderon the winner. The LA Times went even further calling Obradors complaints and victory claim (after Calderon declared first) "a definitive answer" to whether he is a demagogue. One could only imagine the furor if all this was taking place in Venezuela.

We'll wait and see how this all turns out. Many are saying it is a 'worst case' scenerio unfolding. The Mexican stock market is plummeting at the moment, after it had a record day Monday when things seemed clearer. The spectre of stree protests is growing as election authorities are appearing to side with PAN's demands to not allow a full recount. A full accounting of the irregularities is expected soon, and we'll see how authorities respond to those complaints. Certainly the history of elections in Mexico does not bode well when true leftists are involved.


Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's conservative presidential candidate, Felipe Calderon, snatched a razor-thin election victory on Thursday, but his leftist rival vowed to fight the result in the courts and on the streets.

2:01 PM  
Blogger jsb said...

One more win for capitalism. Let's hope Nicaragua is next. Oh, and did you hear the result of Bolivia's latest elections? Seem Morales won't be able to change the constitution there after all. So much for the domino theory we conservatives feared. I wonder if Lula might lose this fall in Brazil? Viva Capitalism!

5:03 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Wanna bet that you are wrong in both Nicaragua and Brazil? And the result in Mexico certainly isn't over. It wont be until all votes get recounted. There were too many mistakes found in the few that were recounted Wednesday.

In Bolivia, Morales' party gained the majority in the Constitutional Assembly voting, granted it was less than the 2/3 needed to single-handedly re-write it. But no one is worried that the Constitutin will not get changed for the better. It most certainly will.

8:48 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

"But no one is worried that the Constitutin will not get changed for the better. It most certainly will."

Absolutely. It will be far better than the draft a 2/3+ Morales chamber would have delivered. For once, you and I agree.

10:14 AM  

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