1830Re: [prezveepsenator] Mexico begins review of presidential vote
- Jul 6, 2006Would have liked to have seen a similar reaction from
--- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:
> Mexico begins review of presidential vote
> By IOAN GRILLO, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 49
> minutes ago
> MEXICO CITY - Mexico began a marathon review of vote
> tallies Wednesday to determine whether conservative
> candidate Felipe Calderon really won the tight
> presidential race, while his leftist challenger
> insisted he was victorious and denounced what he
> called widespread irregularities.
> Calderon told The Associated Press that he would be
> willing to include his charismatic challenger in his
> Cabinet in an effort to avoid weeks of political
> impasse. But he said he didn't think Andres Manuel
> Lopez Obrador would accept, adding that the two men
> hadn't talked since the election.
> A preliminary count showed Calderon, of President
> Vicente Fox's conservative National Action Party,
> ahead by just 1 percentage point. Lopez Obrador
> demanded a recount of every ballot, saying
> "The political stability of the country hangs in the
> Lopez Obrador could mobilize millions if he doesn't
> get his way. In a news conference Wednesday,
> raised the possibility that he would do the same.
> "We could also call for protests, but the vote can't
> be replaced by demonstrations," he said. "They are
> trying to undermine an election without having the
> results to back it up."
> Federal Electoral Institute President Luis Carlos
> Ugalde said late Tuesday that 2.6 million votes were
> not included in the preliminary count because of
> "inconsistencies," such as poor handwriting or
> extraneous marks on the tally sheets attached
> each ballot box. Lopez Obrador had initially said
> those 2.6 million were "missing."
> If a review of the uncounted votes inside prove the
> numbers on these tally sheets are valid, Calderon
> would still lead, but by just 0.64 percent about
> 250,000 of the 41 million votes cast, Ugalde said.
> Electoral officials across Mexico began to review
> the tally sheets Wednesday, a process that by law
> continue around the clock until the final, official
> result is determined. It was unclear when that might
> The final count will be turned over to Mexico's
> electoral courts, where political parties can
> the results. The electoral court is to certify the
> winner Sept. 6.
> Ugalde said officials would open ballot boxes to
> conduct individual counts only where there are tally
> sheet problems.
> In an initial meeting between electoral officials
> party representatives, Horacio Duarte of Lopez
> Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party demanded that
> officials recount all the votes "for the health of
> "There is one thing missing in this process:
> certainty," Duarte said.
> National Action's German Martinez responded, "They
> want to throw out the election because it didn't
> them. Pressure and blackmail should not prevail."
> The review that began Wednesday is crucial to
> the balloting was clean to a nation that emerged six
> years ago from 71 years of one-party rule replete
> election fraud. Some fear that failure to convince
> public and candidates it was a fair vote could spark
> widespread civil unrest.
> "Such a close race is a nightmare scenario," said
> Lewis, an election observer for the San
> Francisco-based Global Exchange. "If the ruling
> wins by a hair, a lot of people will jump to the
> conclusion that something is amiss."
> Lopez Obrador aide Claudia Sheinbaum said Wednesday
> that the party found "very grave inconsistencies" in
> at least 50,000 polling places, including 18,646 in
> which votes cast outnumbered ballots distributed by
> officials. There was no immediate response from
> election officials.
> "The entire handling of the preliminary count was
> irregular," Lopez Obrador told Mexico's TV Azteca in
> an interview Tuesday night. "We are convinced that
> won and we're going to prove it."
> Directing his remarks to electoral officials, he
> "Make the review thorough so all will be satisfied.
> Ugalde said officials will open up ballot boxes to
> conduct individual counts only if there is evidence
> specific irregularities.
> Mexico became accustomed to widespread accusations
> electoral shenanigans during seven decades of rule
> the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
> Fears of such fraud have sharply diminished since
> electoral institute was founded in 1990s. The
> now-autonomous institute oversaw Fox's peaceful
> of the PRI in 2000 and has been praised as a
> world-class electoral body that has advised emerging
> democracies, including Iraq and Haiti.
> Many Mexicans have a hard time discarding conspiracy
> theories, though.
> "It's very suspicious," said Miguel Angel Bobadilla,
> 33-year-old orange juice seller who voted for Lopez
> Obrador. "It has been three days since the election
> and they still haven't declared a winner."
> The silver-haired former mayor of Mexico City has
> inspired passionate support with promises to help
> millions of poor Mexicans, and has successfully
> rallied supporters to participate in huge marches.
> He has not called for any demonstrations since the
> election, although there were some scattered,
> protests supporting him Tuesday.
> Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal said Tuesday that
> the Fox administration "does not endorse the victory
> of anyone, at all."
> But political analyst Jose Antonio Crespo said there
> is still concern that some electoral officials are
> close to Calderon. He said the electoral institute
> needs to be scrupulous in its review to prove
> democratic credentials.
> "I am worried," Crespo said. "All the players must
> tread very carefully or this situation could
> out of control."
> On the Net:
> Federal Electoral Institute: http://www.ife.org.mx
> (has English language site)
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