Doubts over Mexico election persist

MEXICO CITY – The stock market is dropping. Protesters are marching on the capital. Citizens are lighting candles in hopes of divine intervention.

Two weeks after a still-undecided presidential election, the suspense is testing Mexico’s young democracy. The highly respected Federal Electoral Institute is charged with making sure that the tug of war doesn’t reverse democratic gains made since President Vicente Fox’s stunning victory six years ago ended 71 years of one-party rule.

Mexican stocks have given up nearly all of the huge gains made after the July 2 vote, and the peso, which initially rallied on news of conservative Felipe Calderon’s apparent victory, has stalled amid confusion over who won.

Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who refuses to concede, has given Mexico’s electoral court what he says is evidence of fraud. He calls Calderon a fascist, and is demanding a nationwide, vote-by-vote recount.

Lopez Obrador will lead hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – in a Mexico City march to demand that electoral officials review all 42 million ballots cast, something those officials say they can’t do. Thousands of his supporters have converged on Mexico City in caravans after scattered nationwide protests.

Some of his supporters have been adorning their windowsills with votive candles normally reserved for saints, praying that the former Mexico City mayor will reach the presidency.

Calderon is building a transition team and planning a victory tour, even though his 244,000-vote advantage – just under 0.6 percent of the vote – isn’t official until the elections court weighs all appeals and issues a final decree.

This week, the electoral court will hold public sessions to sift through claims by both sides of irregularities – including a television juice advertisement whose blue background matching the ruling party’s color allegedly sent subliminal messages in support of Calderon. On Friday, electoral officials from around the county were turning over to the court electoral materials.

Lopez Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party has handed over a nearly 900-page legal challenge claiming the election was tainted by fraud and that his rival’s attack ads – including spots that were eventually banned for comparing Lopez Obrador to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez – were illegal.

Calderon’s ruling National Action Party has filed its own appeals using an army of about 1,000 lawyers, most of them volunteers. It alleges human error at 500 polling places, and has also filed responses to Lopez Obrador’s allegations.

The court could uphold Calderon’s victory, rule that Lopez Obrador really won, or annul the election completely and order another. Since 2000, it has annulled election results in two gubernatorial races: in Lopez Obrador’s home state of Tabasco in 2000, and in the western state of Colima in 2003.

No decision is expected for weeks. The Federal Electoral Tribunal, which handles appeals and certifies the presidential race, has until Aug. 31 to rule, at which point the magistrates will add up the votes that survived challenges. The court’s decision is final, and a president-elect must be declared by Sept. 6. He will take office on Dec. 1.

Meanwhile, tensions are rising between the supporters of the candidates. Illustrating the divide the race has caused, a local television station recently aired a homemade video of an angry confrontation between a middle-class, middle-aged Calderon supporter and a crowd of Lopez Obrador followers.

The woman, a Calderon campaign sticker stuck to her shiny new sport utility vehicle, was shaking and near tears, screaming hysterically that the Lopez Obrador supporters were being manipulated by the leftist campaign and that the country needs to wake up.

The Lopez Obrador supporters yelled back that she was crazy, shaking their heads in disbelief and laughing until she drove away.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Schools still without water after service restored to Tulalip homes

The affected area included Quil Ceda Elementary, as well as Heritage and Legacy high schools.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mt. Baker visible from the summit of Mt. Dickerman on a late summer day in 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Hornets pester hikers on popular Mountain Loop trails

“You cannot out run the stings,” one hiker wrote in a trip report. The Forest Service has posted alerts at two trailheads.

A view of a 6 parcel, 4.4 acre piece of land in Edmonds, south of Edmonds-Woodway High School on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Housing authority seeks more property in Edmonds

The Housing Authority of Snohomish County doesn’t have specific plans for land near 80th Avenue West, if its offer is accepted.

Nursing Administration Supervisor Susan Williams points at a list of current COVID patients at Providence Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of Providence patients in medical limbo for months, even years

About 100 people are stuck in Everett hospital beds without an urgent medical reason. New laws aim for a solution.

Emergency responders surround an ultralight airplane that crashed Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington, resulting in the pilot's death. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Pilot dead in ultralight plane crash at Arlington Municipal Airport

There were no other injuries or fatalities reported, a city spokesperson said.

Most Read