One Election, Two "Winners" For Now...

I'm the new president.

No, I'm the new president.

That's essentially the message from the two grown men vying to run Mexico. It would be an amusing version of a sandbox squabble if there wasn't so much at stake.


In a disturbing replay of the 2000 presidential contest in the United States, Mexicans awakened Monday to discover they do not have a verdict from Sunday's national election on who will succeed Vicente Fox as the leader of this nation of more than 100 million people. Words like "recount" and "tribunal" were flying. And behind the scenes, the campaigns spoke ominously of lost ballots, no ballots or tampered ballots.

The New York Times and Chicago Tribune have declared an "electoral crisis," while Mexican commentators have latched onto the phrase "worst case scenario." The headline from one blogger on the Guardian's Web site was equally hyperbolic -- "Grand Theft Mexico."

Campaign Conexión is keeping calm, having lived through one of these just six years ago, when Al Gore and George W. Bush duked it out in Florida for 37 of the longest days of my life. The American Republic survived, in the end. Perhaps Mexico's political pros learned from our 2000 mess, as there has been a thrilling display of political chutzpah down here with conservative Felipe Calderón and leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador each declaring -- repeatedly and in several venues -- that he is the winner.

Felipe Calderon
PAN presidential candidate Felipe Calderon on election night. (AFP/Getty Images)

In a television interview Monday morning, Calderón said that preliminary tallies posted by the electoral commission jibed with his internal counts, revealing him to be ahead by a comfortable margin. For those of you just tuning in, Calderón is a Mike Dukakis type -- a smart, staid technocrat. He has promised to continue the economic policies of President Fox, who is praised here for at least maintaining economic stability over the past six years, if not generating fabulous wealth for ordinary Mexicans.

López Obrador, on the other hand, has been dubbed the "firebrand" in the race and compared to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. His campaign platform emphasized a "New Deal" style approach, pouring millions into housing, railroads and timber projects that would create jobs at home.

Not surprisingly, the pugilistic López Obrador took a slightly more aggressive stance Monday, at first saying he would accept the results of the electoral commission, but then arguing that the commission must realize he leads by 500,000 votes. At one point, López Obrador claimed, falsely, that the IFE had promised to announce results Sunday night. And he claimed the reason there wasn't an announcement Sunday was that he had been ahead all along.

Known by his initials, AMLO has been raising the prospect of a stolen election for some time, as the Chicago Tribune reminded readers today. "López Obrador's Democratic Revolutionary Party has warned all along that it could be victimized by electoral fraud. During the campaign, he insisted he would win by a large margin so that authorities would not 'mess' with his victory, just as the PRI allegedly stole the presidency from another left-wing candidate in 1988."

Andres Manuel López Obrador
Andres Manuel López Obrador gestures to photographers as he makes his way from his home to his campaign headquarters in Mexico City on Monday. (Reuters))

The two candidates' Web sites, which by law had been pulled down last Thursday for the customary pre-election "quiet time," were humming Monday, oozing confidence through the computer screen regarding their man's certain victory.

The welcome message on Calderón's home page was easy to understand even if your Spanish isn't great: "Felipe Calderón Presidente de Mexico."

López Obrador, continuing the be-happy theme he rolled out a month ago, posted a cartoon video of himself climbing atop a victor's stand a la the Olympic medal podium. The narrator cheerfully announces: "Smile, Mexico won. López Obrador is now our president."

Calderón Leads in Early Counts

Thanks to modern technology, everybody on the planet with Internet access could play vote voyeur, watching the preliminary tally reported by the Instituto Federal Electoral, or IFE. All day Monday, the counter gave Calderón a slight edge.

In the past two presidential races, the IFE named a winner on election night, according to the Dallas Morning News, which has prepared information on how a possible recount could unfold.

The Los Angeles Times reported, "Electoral institute President Luis Carlos Ugalde announced that a 'quick count' based on a sample of the votes from about 7% of the precincts had produced a result within the margin of error. Only a full count of the more than 40 million estimated votes could determine the winner, he said."

The quick count, completed Sunday night, is a scientific estimate based on 7,600 representative polling stations. After Sunday's quick count, the IFE moved on to a more thorough preliminary count. With 97.5 percent of the preliminary results in, Calderón had 36.36 percent and López Obrador 35.40 percent.

That was welcome news to the markets, which had displayed some jitters prior to Election Day when López Obrador was the man with the Big Mo.
"Investors seized on the news and sharply bid up the prices of Mexican stocks and the value of its currency in early trading today. The Bolsa index gained more than 3 percent and the Mexican peso rose 9 percent against the dollar," according to a morning update by the New York Times.
Marketwatch, the U.S. financial news site, reported that investors had already declared a winner: "The stock market ... felt it had been given sufficient information to assume a Calderón victory. The benchmark Indice de Precios y Cotizaciones jumped 722 points, or 3.8%, to 19,869 in Monday trades. The IPC has risen 11.6% since the start of 2006, placing Mexico among the two best-performing Latin American markets. The exchange-traded S&P Latin America 40 fund gained 3.6 percent Monday."

Markets aside, public and private comments by the campaigns and Mexican analysts suggested the election will not be resolved quickly or calmly. "But if history is any lesson, López Obrador is no Al Gore. He won't walk away from a stolen election without a protest," writes Chuck Collins, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies who lives in Oaxaca. "His political rise has been characterized by having to respond to dirty tricks. And if anyone is justified in being a 'firebrand' about stolen elections, it is Andres Manual López Obrador. And the fact that there is a close election, the closest in this country's history, reflects progress in Mexico's transition to democracy. If there are protests in the coming days, it's because Mexicans demand nothing less than a fair election."

Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer, calling the uncertainty the "worst case scenario," said Sunday's non-outcome outcome was a "bad omen." Oppenheimer: "If Fox led a minority government that could not pass any major law through Congress, and was thus seen as a somewhat ineffective leader, whoever takes his place will have an even bigger challenge to pass laws and move the country forward."

Don't expect any finality to this election at least until Wednesday, when representatives from the political parties will be at IFE to observe a "vote-by-vote" count.

Sin Embargo Duda

A common phrase in Mexico, sin duda means "without a doubt," and indeed there was one political conclusion everyone seemed to agree on Monday. "The loser of the century," as fellow blogger Ana Maria Salazar put it, was Roberto Madrazo, the nominee of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. "His political career is over," Salazar wrote, "and his loss may have been the final nail in the PRI coffin."

Remember, in 2000 Fox ended 71 years of PRI control. The party had high hopes Madrazo would put it back in the Los Pinos, the presidential compound.

Most commentators reported few glitches on Election Day, though more accusations of fraud and irregularities surfaced Monday.

In Estados Unidos

Only a fraction of the eligible Mexican voters living in the United States cast ballots. Some said they feared reprisals. "Of the estimated 4.2 million eligible Mexican voters living abroad, only about 41,000, or 1 percent, requested absentee ballots. Of the 32,632 valid absentee ballots mailed to the Federal Electoral Institute, only 28,335 were from the United States," the Associated Press reported. "'Why couldn't they have made it easier for us to vote here?' said Adriana Lopez, 27, a housewife and illegal immigrant in Orange County who wanted to but couldn't vote out of fear to cross the border. "The governments at home are always so corrupt.'"

For some of the immigrants that decided to cross the border to vote Sunday, it was a long haul, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. "In Tijuana, hundreds waited hours to vote in an outdoor polling place just yards from the U.S. border fence at A.L. Rodríguez International Airport. The snaking line included a large number of legal U.S. residents: former farm workers, young professionals, business owners, students, grandmothers and young couples pushing baby strollers. They came from Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and Chula Vista with ties to all corners of Mexico, from Culiacan to Puerto Vallarta, from Mexico City to Veracruz."

Programming Note

Campaign Conexión will mark the 4th of July by continuing to monitor Mexico's political standoff. In between the burgers and dogs, check in with us for the latest.

And here's a link where you can listen to an interview I did Monday with Washington Post Radio.

-- Ceci Connolly

By washingtonpost.com Editors |  July 3, 2006; 5:31 PM ET  | Category:  Campaign Conexión
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Come on Ceci, let's drop the allusions to 2000 Bush v. Gore. The only comparisson is that both were/are tight elections.

First of all, Mexico has no Electoral College. Let's not forget that was the differnce given that Gore had won the popular vote.
In this race, Calderon HAS the popular vote, almost 400,000 more than AMLO. I believe the difference is 1.1%.

In America in some jurisdictions, the difference must be less than 0.5% before a recount kicks in.

Most polls and pundits predicted this would be a close race but one with a winner nonetheless.

Now, if miraculously 400,100 votes were added for AMLO, well THAT would be fraud. But as it stands now, as in 2004, the Calderon volunteers did a better GOTV job than AMLO. It's that simple.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | July 3, 2006 06:23 PM

Ceci, your comments are interesting,interesting for a foreigner who can always pack up her bags and go home. Most of us, specially those up in the north, dont compare AMLO to Bill Clinton, we dont think its funny to force people and sindicates for a vote. We dont think corruption, crime and unemployment as those found in Mexico city should govern our entire country.

Posted by: Monica F. | July 3, 2006 06:31 PM

Hi Cici,

By the way, sin embargo means "nevertheless" or "however", NOT "without a doubt." Without a doubt is translated correctly "sin duda". Hire a new translator!

Adios.

Posted by: mark B. | July 3, 2006 07:46 PM

Another "Northerner" (Monica F.) I tremble reading things like this. I lived most of my life in a united country, Mexico. What is the deal now, do you want to form an independent nation, free of "nacos"? Who's forcing whom to do what? No crime in Northern Mexico? And what about Juarez and Tijuana? No unemployment, no corruption either? Come on! This type of comment is the "beautiful" consequence of the "Lopez Obrador is a danger to Mexico" campaign. And if Monica has her way, the candidate who ran such cheap-shot ad campaign will be calling for unity. Good luck.

Posted by: pasilla | July 3, 2006 08:02 PM

"Pasilla"

Don't worry about the north of Mexico. Northern tax money will continue to finance all of the PRD's vote buying handouts in Mexico City, just like they have been doing for the last half century.

As to whining about a "cheap shot" campaign, this was not an election for Pope. It was a political process, and anyone who does not like "cheap shots" (like false accusations against Calderon's brother in law) should really find another occupation.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 3, 2006 08:10 PM

Amazingly-- but typically-- shallow analysis from a journalistically bankrupt institution.

Greg Palast is not just a "blogger," as Connally so dishonestly describes him. He's a professional journalist, and one who doesn't live from illegal newsbits fed to a tame lapdog by a corrupt "independent" counsel. He may or may not be right about the meaning of lists of voters acquired by the FBI, but the Guardian and the BBC think enough of his work to employ him. If he's right, then the Bush Administration has intervened in another Latin American country to carry off a coup, and it is not going to come out well.

It's not that the campaigns "ominously spoke of lost ballots." Two percent of the ballots in a race decided by about a percent weren't counted. Were they deliberately left blank or otherwise uninterpretable? If those ballots come from Obrador strongholds, there are going to be riots in the streets.

The allegations of fraud are not just he said/she said whining. The Los Angeles Times, which is apparently still trying to be a newspaper, gave a long list of concerns that weren't raised after the polls closed: allegations of pre-printed ballots, people turned away from the polls, insufficient ballots... on and on. This was not a smooth election by any standard. Obrador and his supporters obviously believe they did win the election. They may or may not be wrong, but there is no doubting their sincerity.

The Washington Post should be ashamed to publish this kind of shallow trash. This is a serious event, one with potentially huge repercussions to the United States. It deserves to be treated like news and not as Lady HawHaw's giggle.

Charles of MercuryRising
http://www.phoenixwoman.blogspot.com

Posted by: Charles | July 3, 2006 08:12 PM

As of right now, the PAN has 14,018345 votes, or 36.38% of the total. The PRD has 13,621,080, or 35.35%, with 98.37% of the vote counted. BOTH the PAN and the PRD percentages are within the margins of error of the last pre-election polls, and of the different exit polls. At this point it is almost statistically impossible for AMLO to overcome this, as most of the uncounted 1.63% is from northern states where the PAN is strongest. People like "Charles" ought to get a clue about close elections, and realize that their favorite left wing candidate does not always win. That is just the way it is.

As to Greg Palast being anything like objective, that is a joke. Ditto for the Guardian and the BBC. A more wacko collection of left wing ideologues you will not find. Just try not to take them too seriously.

Posted by: | July 3, 2006 08:24 PM

I'm interested to see the exit poll data. What is too close to call? In the post-2000 era, official counts are not so reliable.

Posted by: R | July 3, 2006 08:30 PM

Incidentally, according to the IFE results, AMLO strongholds like the Federal District, the State of Mexico and Tabasco the percentage of spoiled and nullified ballots is much LOWER than the Mexican average. Any serious fraudster would seek to void more ballots in his opponent's strongholds.... Also, the PAN is registered as winning less than 4% of the vote in Tabasco. This is almost impossible, even Satan would get 4% if he ran a well funded campaign. So, there may be voter fraud from the left...

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 3, 2006 08:33 PM

Leave it to the left, whether in the USA or Mexico, to disrespect the ballot box and cast aspersions and unfounded charges at the winner. In America, it be the Republicans and now in Mexico, it is PAN that is the brunt of these attacks.

Never mind that the IFE has taken years and gone to great lengths to ensure fair elections for all. In America the Left advocates for a non-partisan electoral system such as Mexico's and we see that is not the answer. Beware America not to succumb to such phoney exhortations to reform our electoral system for we know that the Left will never be satiated until it can control and dominate EVERY free election. We will never allow that to happen, not in America, not in Mexico.

In the not too distant past Mexico's electoral system was truly corrupt and the results untrustworthy. Little wonder that the once-controlling PRI can barely claim 20% of the vote compared to the past when they won everything they wanted.

For now IFE looks like a model that many other countries can look to for transparent and free elections.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | July 3, 2006 08:34 PM

The problem of you americans is that you see the PRD as a responsable social left a cool left like in Chile or Spain but that not true here in Mexico. The PRD is a new PRI, many candidates of these elections are what they call here PRInosauiros. They are populist radicals I new that allways. The true left here is Alternative and PAty Mercado and she got my vote

Posted by: Carlos | July 3, 2006 09:13 PM

lets take a look in the nulliefied votes okay..
lets take for examples a bastion of PRD Mexico city in here they got 2,726,705 votes and were nullified 68,747 and now lets take a bastion of the PAN Jalisco
Pan got 1,364,572 and were nullified 58,355
As you can see the diference is minimal not altering the election at all

Posted by: Javier | July 3, 2006 09:18 PM

Mark B. got me. I should have said "sin duda." My apologies.
PS Mark, It's Ceci.

Posted by: Ceci | July 3, 2006 10:00 PM

Pasilla,

I am also from the north, the Sonora state. Monica F. is right. We are sick and tired of a centralized Mexico goverened only by what the Distrito Federal has to say. Even worst when the mexican capital has converted into communism, praising Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Good thing all of our northen states went in millions to vote at the ballots to stop the crazy leftist Lopez Obrador.

Posted by: Miguel | July 3, 2006 10:05 PM

"Jerry Bourbon"

PRD did not exist 50 years ago. I'm 37 and I remeber when PRD was created because that was the year I was old enough to vote in my first federal election. So, Northern taxes has not always bought handouts in Mexico City. Maybe?

And talking about "cheap shot", let me tell you that here in Mexico we have been waiting for so long for politics to be discussed professionaly. We've would it like National issues to be addressed. We've would it like, for instance, to hear proposals to diminish poverty because half of our population live in that condition. Unfortunately that didin't happend.

Now electoral campaings in Mexico are a litte bit like in the US: scandals and a little bit to much of media news that sells them. In the last US elections were heard Mr. Kerry revealing the current Vicepresident's daughter homosexuality. In Mexico we heard about Lopez Obrador chauffer's son studyng in Spain.

Who cares about that when you guys have problems with the Federal Reserve incrementing interest rates? When young Americans are dying in a war that has given huge profits to companys where current high ranked officers have shares? Who cares abou that when we have 50 million of poor people in Mexico, and 500,000 people per year are leaving for the US to find a better life because they couldn't find it here?

Policts should be more than "cheap shot." Don't you think?

Posted by: Mexican in Mexico | July 3, 2006 10:25 PM


"Mexican in Mexico"
WEALTH TRANSFERS from the north, where people work for a living, existed 50 years ago. For that matter, so did the PRD. Only, it was called the "PRI". How else do you explain people like Manuel Barlett et al supporting AMLO?

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 3, 2006 10:31 PM

Looking at AMLO and the PRD's vote totals in D.F., I can only say that Mayor Daley would be mighty proud of them. I would have expected them to do better in the state of Mexico but maybe there are geographic limits to this kind of politics. It will be interesting to see what Lopez Obrador decides to do now. He is probably in a state of total shock as are all his buddies - Marti Batres, Claudia Sheinbaum, Rene Bejarano, Dolores Padierna etc. who were probably salivating over their future gains. If AMLO goes ballistic and openly rabble rouses, that will only confirm the opinion that people north of Queretaro have of him. Maybe the best would be to play the victim and let his friends - los taxis piratas, los ambulantes, el frente Pancho Villa, la Comision General de la Huelga, los Atenqueros and los maestros de Oaxaca (here's to another month of vacation!) rise up in spontaneous protest, invade the IFE, seize the ballots, count the vote themselves and then declare the creation of the Obradorian Republic of Mexico. Marti, are you listening?

Posted by: El Tecolote | July 3, 2006 11:18 PM

Talking is so cheap... Where are the data that support the north-south "transfer" of resources? I guess that is what we call distribution of federal taxes, which is responsibility of the federal government, currently in the hands of the PAN. I'm so shocked to know that people from the north work for a living. I guess that all the other Mexicans don't... Aren't you, Jerry Bourbon, ashame of what you are suggesting? I, as a Mexican and an American, am ashamed of your comment...

Miguel: as far as I know, the federal government seat is Mexico City... Are you proposing to transfer it to, let say, Monterrey? Fine with me...

Miguel: If by "communism" you mean the PRD, you got the news late; Marcelo Ebrard will be the head of the third PRD administration of Mexico City...

I'm sorry for all those who surrendered their reason to PAN's propaganda...

Posted by: pasilla | July 3, 2006 11:22 PM

Carlos got it right-- The PRD is not a leftist party of the kind we have seen in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Spain, UK, etc
But it may not even be like the Chavistas of Venezuela, even though the PAN capitalized on the comparison between AMLO and Chavez by using video of AMLO ranting and raving Chavez style. AMLO is not Chavez. Chavez is far brighter and much more entertaining.

But getting back to the point-- the PRD is, in fact, more like the old PRI, as Carlos noted. Most of its members, in fact, were in the PRI 20 years or so ago.

Handing out bread to the poor is not a program to eliminate poverty. Mexico could be a country with great opportunity for all once it gets decent leadership and starts using the bright, hardworking people to create wealth instead of sending them off to work in el norte.

Posted by: Goyo | July 3, 2006 11:25 PM

"The Los Angeles Times, which is apparently still trying to be a newspaper, gave a long list of concerns that weren't raised after the polls closed: allegations of pre-printed ballots, people turned away from the polls, insufficient ballots..."

1.- There can't be pre-printed ballots, the parties representatives check ballot by ballot before sending them to the election polls.
2.- There can be people turned away, if someone asks for a new voter card and tries to vote with the old one he/she will be turned away. To avoid this, the electoral institue publish a list with all the people that is allowed to vote and this list is available in ALL the offices of the institute (which are quite a lot in every city). People have 3 months before the elections to check it and ask for a revision to be able to vote. Of course you can also check it over the internet.
3.- The "insufficient ballots" is only about the special polls for people in transit, which BY LAW and accepted by ALL the parties before the election, only have 750 ballots. You can't have ballots all over the country just like that, this is in order to prevent any fraud and people know this before hand. That's they reason the institue strongly asks for the people to tell them their new adress ASAP to have them vote where they live.

Posted by: Arudo | July 3, 2006 11:34 PM

Pasilla,

I am not sorry at all by surrendering my reasoning to the PAN propaganda. I am sorry that the mexican capital is being kidnapped by leftist/communist/PRD idialogy like the one you so much admire.

And yes, let us move the federal goverment seat to Monterry. I applaude your idea. At least Monterrey is a good example of what Mexico should be. Don´t they have a first world country airport? not like the piece of garbage you have in Mexico City.

Posted by: Miguel | July 3, 2006 11:59 PM

Miguel, if you believe Monterrey is a first world city, you have to travel more often. Visit Queretaro. Visit Leon. Visit Villahermosa, and why not, the USA, Germany or Sweden. Then re-assess your judgement about Monterrey. If you think it has a good airport, that just tells me you do not fly frequently enough. Finally, you can probably learn the social complexity of Mexico City to understand why the PRD won. It is not a matter of north and south, it is not even a matter of wealth, it is a matter of education, or lack thereof, and ethnicity.

Posted by: Octavio | July 4, 2006 12:36 AM

I connected Connolly with the Starr investigation. That is incorrect, and I regret the error.

Connolly is the one who fabricated quotes from Gore.

There is a simple rule that applies to Republicans: whatever they accuse others of, they are guilty of. Anyone who read my post will notice that it carefully does not say accuse either side of anything. Obviously it stung people who have something to feel guilty over.

Charles of MercuryRising
http:www.phoenixwoman.blogspot.com

Posted by: Charles | July 4, 2006 01:05 AM

The problem with an analogy between the Bush vs Gore debacle and this situation is that in the case of the United States ordinary citizens did not receive immediate and profound impact on their daily lives. Two elections ago, newly elected President Zedillo let the peso "float" after years of valuation controls. Within weeks people were losing homes and jobs. Myself, I lost 50% of my clients in two months and most of the small business people I knew experienced the same thing. Jobs were lost. University students left school to work in crappy jobs to try to help families. Everywhere, people experienced hardship - not just a feeling that "oh, darn - our side lost".

So, this isn't entertainment. This isn't the American sport of political scrimmaging for ideological beliefs or over economic policies that have widely distributed impacts, but don't result in people actually going hungry. Very serious and perhaps tragic things are going to happen to Mexicans in their daily lives depending on the results of this election, and no one should be too flip or glib in describing the situation. Especially if they aren't going to be here to live with the consequences.

Posted by: Greg | July 4, 2006 01:23 AM

Hey guys, this is a sorry discussion, and the worst thing is that is taking place mostly among Mexicans.

I would like to say that I do not support AMLO, but I do not believe that he is a danger for Mexico. Why? Because, first we have solid institutions (SCN, IFE, etc), second the cameras (lower and the senate) are divided among all the political forces, this means that they have to get into agreement points (this means work, and for many of our represent ants is a whole new and painful thing), and last and more important: we, the Mexicans have surpassed the moral quality and political capacity of our leaders and we will not stand still in front any oppressive government, if that is what we would have liked, we would have voted for the PRI. (I am not saying that we will make an armed revolution but a peaceful one).

Now the reality, fact: Mexico is loosing its leadership in the region, we still are in a clear geographical and social competitive advantage with the US and Canada who are our best partners (no matter what some PRD guys might believe, they are our neighbors not our enemies), we need to take advantage of that instead of just keep crying for the dropped milk.

Another factor to consider, we still have many rotten structures of seven decades of PRI, this country will not change from one presidential period to the other, just to mention some: PEMEX, Cia de Luz y Fuerza, IMSS, and many unions that keep this country in a terrible situation.

We are witnessing a social polarization, and this is something our political leaders have not contemplated that might occur nor its after elections effect. Who will pick up the pieces? Who will pay the bill? Easy, us... the people.

Observe one of the silent consequences of the issue; how the X generation only though is to flee out of the country, many of the mid classers specially are able to do it in a legal fashion. This means brain (legal) migration, to the U.S., to Europe, to Canada... those that have cost a lot of time and Money to the country.
Alexis de Tocqueville attributed the country's stability to this class, this is as well the people that generates pacific change and marks a line between those who own everything and those who have nothing to loose and are willing to take a gun to overthrown the gov. I wonder now, which of any of the political forces in Mexico represent the mid class? The answer is simple NONE.

The PRD has forgotten that they were born as a faction of the PRI. AMLO as well of many of his supporters were serving the devil, and now accepting many of their not so far siblings of the PRI. The saddest thing for sure is that people easily forget. In Mexico State Yeidkol Polenski (this is how she named herself.. her real name is a mystery) is going to hold a seat in the senate, she ran for governor in the last elections and all her skulls in the closet were exposed and she lost the election. How does she won???? (I really think people voted for her.. I trust the IFE... Haven't AMLO protested for the seats that the PRD got on the cameras? :-P)

Anyway... I got excited.. back into the topic. The IFE is one of the world most regarded electoral organisms. It is overseen by all the Mexicans, from the normal citizens to the political forces. Each party has a representation on every voting booth; they have access to the list of voters (el padron) they confirm that the guy voting is the same standing there. They have a copy of the tally (acta) sent to the IFE. Everyone is invited to review. As Ceci said, this election was something special, any of us that had access to the Internet were able to confirm the results on the national level and the website allowed to drill down to the voting booth level. Anyone could check that the data in the system was the same posted outside, you could even build you own system! There were also explanations of the booths that were excluded and the reason.

Finally, I would like to say that even if we have the uncertainty of who will win the elections, get merry... this is democracy is all about, not knowing who will win! We still are within the times set by the law, don't get anxious. We will have a fair result, the question ow is that all our political fellows will take it for good and what they are willing to do after.

I just hope the PG does not take the city over, and allow common people to do our jobs and get this country moving.

Posted by: Danny | July 4, 2006 02:47 AM

Some comments show lack of knowledge on Mexico´s electoral system. Each voting booth has strict surveillance, first by four randomly selected citizens who make up the booth's officers (all living in the voting precinct), and 2nd by representatives of the participating political parties who are present during the whole process, including the tally. Ballots are counted before voting starts and, in many cases, signed in the back by one of the party representatives (by law it is their right to do so) to make sure no bogeys show up in the ballot boxes. And so, I could continue describing all the safeguards. In a country that suffered decades of electoral fraud, it took great effort and money to set up this system. I invite anyone to look at it closely. This system has been commended by all 680 international observers that were here on election day. This comment comes from a leftist who dislikes both AMLO and Calderon, but saw no danger in AMLO. I voted for neither.

Posted by: Edgar | July 4, 2006 03:10 AM

I find it really interesting (in terms of impact on us) that people are saying that those concerned with immigration here should be rooting for Obrador, but it seems like the opposite is true. And Calderon wants to privatize the oil industry (or allow private investment in it), which ensures he has Bush/Cheney support, of course.

Posted by: EK | July 4, 2006 04:10 AM

Everyone who questions the transparency of the IFE is seriously deranged. If we Mexicans have to be proud about something is of our new institutions, mainly the IFE and the Banco de México. Not a sinlge foreign observer doubts of its transparency. Even more, the United Nations sent the new Iraqi electoral officials to train themselves in Mexico, in the IFE, to guarantee the legality of the elections in that country. Was there a fraud in this elections? Not a chance!

One more thing. AMLO isn't a democrat. He isn't a true leftist either. I consider myself a leftist. I have a double citizenship, Mexican and Spanish, and when I have to vote for Spain I have no doubt I will do it for the PSOE, never for the PP. Would I do that, here in Mexico? To vote for the PRD? No way! All you AMLO supporters... haven't you seen the flagrant corruption of his government in Mexico City? his threats, his disprespect to the institutions that we, ALL Mexicans, have built with our sweat, blood and tears? is that a true liberal, a democrat? Absolutely not! where are all the real left proposals, protecting the minorities, gay rights, women rights? All he has said is this supposedly "new economic model". That just stupid. He says the best foreign policy is domestic policy. In this era, with the means of communication we have, with the growing dependency on global economics it is retarded to think like this. There is no escaping for globalization. It is our reality and we have to accept it and take advantage of it. Taking, once again, the Spanish example: Aznar opted for a more inward posture with a close alliance with the United States; Zapatero opted for a more European approach and his administration has a done a very active job in several international forums. There is no doubt in my mind tha Spain is doing a lot better nowadays, both in the international and in the domestic sphere, than they did 5 years ago.

Calderón isn't the best option for Mexico, I'm pretty sure about that. But he is a bizillion times better than AMLO.

Posted by: bunburina | July 4, 2006 05:53 AM

Fun of the Century

Posted by: Syed | July 4, 2006 07:23 AM

Dear Jerry,

Interesting line of thoght that of yours. Is it Cartesian?

Pasilla got it right. Every body in Mexico pays taxes. From North to South and West to East.

Let me just add something: 50 years ago, say 1956, Monterrey was the Municipality that partcipate with most of the taxes in Northern Mexico. But then, like now, the biggest tax participations to the Federation come from Central Mexico -Federal District and State of Mexico- because it is there where the hight concentration of industries is located. However, every State participates and every body in Mexico works for a living.

PRI used to financed their political campaigns with money from State run industries, like PEMEX, and public institutions, say Loteria Nacional, and Unions lead by the same party. That's why there were (still are?) so inefficient. Governmental financial corruption was mainly from taking money from autosufficient organizations.

Pasilla, best regards from Mexico City.

Posted by: Mexican in Mexico | July 4, 2006 08:00 AM

Oh. I forgot something.

Miguel,

Have you hear about economic systems in Cuba, North Korea or the former Eastern Block? That is communism. Center left is more like that those goverment systems in Spain, Italy or Scandinavian socialdemocracies. That means support to free market but better wealth administration and distribution. I am not saying I am pro AMLO, just giving some examples.

Posted by: Mexican in Mexico | July 4, 2006 08:08 AM

"Greg Palast is not just a "blogger," as Connally so dishonestly describes him. He's a professional journalist"

Baloney. Greg Palast as far-left conspiracy theorist. It is an insult to the professional of journalism to give him the title "journalist".

Posted by: JoMama | July 4, 2006 08:34 AM

"Baloney. Greg Palast as far-left conspiracy theorist. It is an insult to the professional of journalism to give him the title "journalist"."

Yeah, like Bush stealing the 2004 vote in Florida and Bush getting a pass on his Air National Guard Service. What a nutcase!

Posted by: R | July 4, 2006 09:11 AM

Mi "bola de cristal" ofrecio excelentes resultados. El proceso se presento exactamente tal como pronostique abajo, hace unos dias.
Y cuando la eleccion se "limpie" del fraude perredista en Morelos, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo y el Distrito Federal, Calderon va a ganar con al menos un millon de votos. Lo veremos en unos cuantos dias; el viernes a mas tardar.
Y gringos, Mexico no es EUA: Los mexicanos, en una durisima y larga lucha, hemos construido una real democracia electoral, la cual apenas esta madurando.
No necesitamos "suprema corte" republicana para birlarle la eleccion a nadie. Y menos un ridiculo "Colegio Electoral" que puede anular el voto popular.
jejeje.

Posted by: Eduardo Valle. | July 4, 2006 10:01 AM

As a U.S. reporter in Mexico, I just want to pay kudos for this terrific blog. The links are first-rate. The comments are spirited and insightful. Excellent!

Posted by: Ron Mader | July 4, 2006 10:49 AM

Boy, nothing like a little bit of racial inferiority complex from Eduardo Valle... ("gringos?")

Two things come out from this election. One, is that AMLO is indeed proving himself to be a Hugo Chavez clone, who simply cannot deal with having lost. He lost. Get over it.

The other is, 64% of Mexico voted against Calderon, the winner. It would be strongly advised to change the electoral system either to have a second round of voting between the top two candidates in the event no one gets 50% (which would make whining about Sunday's numbers meaningless) or doing an Australian system of allowing for second place votes, which would redistribute the PRI and minor party votes among AMLO and Calderon.

That is for the future though... Right now, AMLO's actions are very dangerous. What exactly will he accomplish if he unleashes his Atenco and Zapatista thugs in Mexico City? Supposing, by some miracle, he actually was able to overturn the election. Does he think the northern states, which ALL voted overwhelming PAN will sit by and do nothing? He risks splitting Mexico.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 4, 2006 11:00 AM

Incidentally, in 2000, when Fox won, and no one whined about fraud, nullified votes came to 2.1%, EXACTLY what they were this year. (the actual numbers were 789,838 null votes out of 37,605,260 cast,) Some people vote wrong, others intentionally spoil their ballots as a protest.
See:
http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/PSci/Fac/klesner/apsa97_Table1.htm

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 4, 2006 11:05 AM

"A little bit of racial inferiority complex" said Mr. Bourbon.
Caray, green grass, de donde sacas esto?.
In my land, all the green grass (remerber the War against Mexico) are "gringos". Without "bad feelings". Like "gabachos" comes from the French war against Mexico.
jejeje.

Posted by: Eduardo Valle | July 4, 2006 11:09 AM

Here are some interesting numbers that I have gathered form prep.eluniversal.com.mx

with 98.45% of the vote cast:
Calderon as of now wins with 36.38% of the vote, that is 14,027,214 votes.
AMLO has 35.34% of the vote or 13,624,506 votes.
That is a difference of 1.04% or 402,708 votes.
total number of voters: 41,ooo,ooo (estimated)
Number of votes to be counted still: 635500 votes to be counted
Number of votes disqualified (Votos Nulos): 827,317

seems to me that if only 402,708 votes separte the two candidates then it is way too early to declare a winner when there are at least 635,000 votes that have yet to be counted. Not only that there are 827, 317 votes that were disqulified, can anybody say "hanging chad"?

as as a retort ot comments made earlier as to whether a candidate would attempt to cheat the other out of votes in his strongholds I would suggest that you consider that in order ot do that you have to have a network of individuals willing to cheat for you. something whit both the PRD and the PAN didn't have in either of the others strongholds. The PRI however may still have such a network but given there dismal performace I think that they either dont have it or that they failed to use it. So I think that we can safely assume that this was for the most part a fair election. However this situation is possible worse that if someone had cheeted as it sigles to a true ideological divide in the country. Being a gringo I have no favorite in this race but am primarily concerned with Mexico for research purposes and it troubles me that this ideological divide is so strong in a relatively imature democracy. whoever is declared the winner we should all hope that the eventual winner reaches out to the otherside to mitigate the possible backlash from the opposition,

Posted by: todd | July 4, 2006 11:19 AM

I just want to tell you with out doubt, you have to say in spanish "SIN DUDA", Sin embargo means another thing: however, nevertheless

Posted by: Susana Ojeda | July 4, 2006 11:30 AM

Oye Senor Valle:
Olvidate de usar "gringo" en su discusion. Si mexicanos quieren ser respetados por nosotros americanos, nos deben de respetar igualmente.
Estoy de acuerdo que mexicanos deben de sentir orgulloso por su sistema electoral pero no se debe de olvidarse que tal sistem apenas tiene como diez anos. Antes de eso las votaciones eran una desmadre y una broma.

Por mi parte, estoy conforme con nuestro sistema que utiliza el Electoral College. Hay que entender que ese College elige al president y no el voto popular. Cada american debe de saber eso desde la primaria pero lamentablemente in la votacion de 2000, no lo sabian.

Por fin, una ultima coreccion. En 2000 la Corte Suprema no escogio a George Bush como presidente. Solamente interpretaron la ley estatal de Florida para que ellos mismos aplicaran sus leys electorales vigentes, leyes que fueron atacadas y tortudadas por los partidarios de Al Gore.

Asi es que pararon con las manias de contar "hanging chads" y decalraron que Bush habia ganado por 535 votos, dandele todos los votos electorales del estado de Florida. Eso es nuestro sistema.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | July 4, 2006 11:52 AM

The electoral college makes a top down fraud (like 1988 in Mexico) impossible in the US. That in itself is reason to keep it. Imagine if, in 2000, we did NOT have it. You would have had a national crisis involving recounting 100 million votes, with all the Democratic fraud in places like Chicago, Milwaukee and Baltimore turning up. It would have been a huge mess. As it is now, the frauds kind of balance each other out, between republican and democratic states.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 4, 2006 12:01 PM

"I am not sorry at all by surrendering my reasoning to the PAN propaganda..." Words, unfortunately, speak by themselves.

Let's stop carelessly chattering about the pristine IFE... Granted, this institute is years-light away from the corrupted Federal Electoral Commission of the past; but behind every number in a database there's a human with symphaties and dislikes. Mr. Ugalde lacks the moral authority of Mr. Woldenberg, the past IFE president. Besides, some here don't know, or conveniently forget, that the PRD was alienated from the selection of Mr. Ugalde.

If there is PRD fraud in Morelos or anywhere, let's show it; PRD is abiding by the law, one way or another. Stop the catastrophism, please. Let's take a deep breath, relax and watch the process unfold.

Eduardo Valle: Tu bola de cristal fue tan certera, que quizas no tengamos un Presidente Electo hasta septiembre. Las tendencias electorales que mencionaste en un post anterior son conocidas hace muchos años. Todo mexicano informado sabe en que estados la votacion se inclina por el PAN.

The arrival of Yeidkol to the Mexican Senate; most likely it was as a plurinominal senator. The mechanism was created under different political conditions to give representation to minority parties; it's perhaps time to review it.

Mexicano en Mexico: Saludos tambien. Let's hope that reason trumps mindless passion.

So far, I have no complaint about Ceci's job. Her tone is sometimes a tad too chirpy; but she runs a blog, don't forget that. Keep it up, Ceci!

Posted by: pasilla | July 4, 2006 12:41 PM

Pasilla says that if there is PRD fraud in Morelos or elsewhere, let us show it. Good point, so far there is no great proof of it. By the same token, if there is PAN fraud anywhere, let's show it, rather than making wild acusations. So far no one seems to have been able to. No one seems to have been able to prove ANYTHING except that this was a very closely contested election. And someone must win.

As to PRD always abiding by the law, really? Those were not PANistas attacking the police with machetes in Atenco.

Posted by: Jerry Bourbon | July 4, 2006 01:40 PM

Dear pasilla,

I live in Mexico State, Yeidkol was a public candidate, I can forward you the propaganda that comes to my place if you want. :-D

Regards,

Posted by: Danny | July 4, 2006 03:08 PM

iepa,iepa,iepa, Camarada Pasilla.
Si, tan lo sabias que jurabas (y perjurabas) en relacion con los resultados electorales. Nada te fallo. Ni por poquito.
Pero no te apures. Manana se inicia el conteo en los consejos electorales diatritales. Y Calderon va a ganar por alrededor de un millon de votos. Luego de que se limpie el fraude perredista en MORELOS, TLAXCALA, El Distrito federal e HIDALGO.
pero: que importa!. Tu ya lo sabias. No es asi?. nO TE EQUIVOCAS NUNCA.
iepa,iepa,iepa. PARA MANANA Y A MAS TARDAR EL SABADO O DOMINGO: CALDERON, PRESIDENTE CONSTITUCIONAL DE MEXICO.

Posted by: Eduardo Valle | July 4, 2006 05:46 PM

Some good ideas here, especially concerning the need for some electoral reform. Most Latin American nations allow for a runoff election so that the eventual winner will have won with at least half of the vote, plus whatever extra margin he or she gets. This provides a better mandate, not that it always provides a better government-- there are many examples of poor leaders emerging from such elections.

I don't think anyone in Mexico would want the cumbersome electoral college system used in Estados Unidos. But a second round might not be a bad idea to explore.

The biggest problem in Mexico is that a large part of the population lives in poverty and resents the smaller group who can afford to live better. The poor, uneducated people have a right to be discontented, but they often look for a savior to champion their cause-- or at least stick it to los ricos. AMLO has tried to present himself as the messiah for the poor. I think he may be very sincere and, from all appearances, he is a man of simple tastes who does not live extravagantly. Still, being sincere and austere does not make you an effective leader, nor does it constitute an actual plan to eliminate poverty.

The other problem with AMLO is that, while he may be as honest and clean as the snows on top of el Popo, many of his chums and cronies in the PRD are gangsters from the old PRI. The scandals that emerged when he ran the DF will likely be nothing compared to what will happen if this crowd gets into Los Pinos.

As for the north-south bickering-- ya basta! There are many great things and many great people all over Mexico. The south and center could be just as industrious and prosperous as the north if the system opened up to entreprenuers and allowed more private sector growth. There are thousands of Mexicans from these supposedly backward southern states who have migrated north to places like Texas and Chicago and now have their own thriving businesses. The fact that they couldn't have done that back home can be blamed on the short-sighted nationalistic, leftist, populist policies of the past that the PAN trying to overcome.

One word about Mexico's petroleum-- someone said Bush and Cheney would like to see Pemex privatized. Well, maybe, but that has nothing to do with the real issue. Mexicans would be better off if the law allowed at least some opening of the energy sector. Even Venezuela has companies from Houston working under contracts in Maracaibo. In fact, almost all the growth in production there comes from those companies.

In Mexico the old, rather lame notion is that the petroleum belongs to the people. Yeah, right. Mexican citizens get no dividend payments, they pay twice as much for poor quality gas as people north of the border and most of the money from Pemex either goes to the government or into the pockets of the people running the company. Calderon has some good ideas on how to change this and help Mexico get more from its energy sector. He will have a hard fight to get Mexicans to change their ideas, but I think younger, better educated Mexicans are beginning to understand that allowing limited contracts to foreign exploration and development companies does not constitute "selling the country." No one is suggesting that Pemex be privatized, but opening the company to outside technology and investment would be good for all concerned.

Posted by: Goyo | July 4, 2006 07:37 PM

Goyo

PEMEX would be better... if the state would let to the company a little of their income. Las year the goverment took from PEMEX about 110% of the company earnings. That is more important that foreign money in the company...

Today with 77.57 of the acts, Obrador is winning by 2.00.

Posted by: Javier Delgado | July 5, 2006 08:28 PM

Oh, dear. Two million votes that the perfectly transparent and incorruptible IFE (which refused to include any PRD representatives) forgot to mention. Impossible electoral statistics. More specific allegations of how this stainlessly pure process was in fact corrupted in at least 1400 casillas.

And now the ... revised... vote count coming in with Obrador 2 points *ahead* with 80% of the vote counted.

And this is before resolution of certain... problems... there were on election day.

No one would believe a Calderon "victory."

The stock market sees what is going to happen. Either Calderon crashes the computers and announces a win by murdering anyone who says different--as was actually done in 1988-- or Calderon stands down and uses Bush Administration assets like the Washington Post to undermine the legitimacy of the Obrador government.

*Anything* except just let the Mexican people decide who should govern them.

Charles of Mercury Rising
http://www.phoenixwoman.blogspot.com

Posted by: Charles | July 5, 2006 09:13 PM

U would think AMLO just came out of no where and wanted 2be president, but nope, he spent the last 5 years running the largest city of the world, where he bought more changes, more investment, in roads, in schools, etc. He did deeds. He plans to repeat his actions, nation wide. We know who AMLO is by his all ready done jobs as mayor of Mexico City, so how can it be a wonder as to what kind of a president he would become? Its ridiculous, its strange how some PANistas cannot contain the truth. Fact is, more ppl live in the south of Mexico than in the north. U not only had Mexico city going for AMLO, but the largest state also going to AMLO, 16 states in the south also going to AMLO, yet PANIstas think because they also won 16 states, they won. The northern states are bigger in size, but not in population. Ask any PANists in mexico, and he wont get it at 1st, and argure about the north being some how more. But its not the states size that counts, but the number of its voters. The north is mostly hot deserts, i should know, i live in the dgo. But in the south, where u can almost lift up your arms for food that grows on trees, theirs a tree in chiapas whose fruit tastes like bread, is bumper 2 bumper ppl. So get real PANistas, u lost the presidency, AMLO is the legitmate President of Mexico. Recount the votes for the truth, why are they afraid of a vote by vote recount?
Because theirs something 2 hide? THIS FRAUD WILL NOT STAND!

Posted by: maya0 | July 18, 2006 10:56 AM

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