Calderon named Mexico's president-elect
Calderon named Mexico's president-elect
By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer 18 minutes
MEXICO CITY - Felipe Calderon became president-elect
of Mexico on Tuesday, two months after disputed
elections, when the nation's top electoral court voted
unanimously to reject allegations of fraud and certify
his narrow victory.
His leftist rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, had
said he would not recognize the ruling. His supporters
wept as the decision was announced and the courthouse
shook as protesters set off fireworks outside.
"This has been fraudulent from start to finish," said
Claudio Martinez, 23.
Calderon, staying out of sight at the ruling party
offices, now must win over millions of Mexicans angry
that President Vicente Fox didn't make good on
promises of sweeping change and fend off thousands
of radicalized leftists who say they will stop at
nothing to undermine his presidency.
The court's final, official vote count trimmed
Calderon's 240,000-vote advantage to 233,831 votes out
of 41.6 million cast. Judge Alfonsina Berta Navarro
Hidalgo said the court found evidence of problems, but
not enough to annul the election.
"There are no perfect elections," she said.
The tribunal's decision was final and cannot be
Tuesday's long-awaited ruling by the Federal Electoral
Tribunal which came two months, three days, and tens
of thousands of pages of legal challenges after voters
cast their ballots was unlikely to end potentially
explosive protests or close the growing political
divide gripping the country.
The court rejected Lopez Obrador's "dirty campaign"
allegations, but said Fox put the election at risk
with his comments on the campaign.
Lopez Obrador had argued that an ad campaign comparing
him to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez illegally
affected the elections. But the court said that while
the ads had a strong impact, it was not enough to
change the result. It also pointed out that Lopez
Obrador used his own attack ads against Calderon.
The court said there was "no logical connection" to
Lopez Obrador's claim that television ads by
pro-Calderon businesses had subliminal messages in
favor of Calderon. It also rejected claims that the
popular soap opera "La Fea Mas Bella," or "The
Prettiest Ugly Girl," indirectly supported Calderon,
and said there was no evidence electoral authorities
were biased against the leftist.
The court's president, Leonel Castillo, called on
Mexicans to unite and heal the deep divisions the
"I hope we conclude this electoral process leaving
confrontation behind," he said.
Neither candidate was at the session. Lopez Obrador
ate breakfast with lawmakers from his Democratic
Revolution Party, then arrived at his protest tent in
Mexico City's Zocalo plaza where he has been sleeping
for nearly two months.
He was greeted by supporters yelling: "You are not
Lopez Obrador adviser Manuel Camacho told The
Associated Press that the court's recommendation "does
not take into account what is actually happening in
"The court is going to be questioned seriously about
its decision," he said, adding: "We have the
responsibility to conduct ourselves peacefully."
Busloads of riot police guarded Calderon's campaign
headquarters where he was expected to celebrate his
victory Tuesday evening.
Lopez Obrador barely mentioned the impending decision
Monday during his nightly address to followers in the
Instead, he focused on an upcoming national convention
of his supporters to decide if he should declare
himself head of a parallel government whose members
would propose a series of government reforms.
"This movement is now about transforming the country,"
"What we are proposing now could just be a dream
maybe it won't bear fruit, maybe it will be that we
fail but you know what we have? We have confidence,
and above all the responsibility to do it," he later
added. "The dreams of the men and women of today will
be the realities of tomorrow."
The convention is planned for Sept. 16, Mexico's
Independence Day in the Zocalo, where the armed forces
traditionally gather for a march down Mexico City's
main Reforma avenue. Both places have been occupied by
protesters for more than a month.
Mexican presidents are limited by the constitution to
one, six-year term, and Fox leaves office Dec. 1.
Protesters say they won't go home until Lopez Obrador
is declared president and a court ruling in
Calderon's favor will just fuel their fight.
Tensions spilled from the streets to the halls of
Congress on Friday, when lawmakers from Lopez
Obrador's party the podium of the legislature and
blocked Fox from delivering his final