[Marxism] MEXICO: Partial Vote Recount Favors Obrador

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 14 23:24:02 MDT 2006

(Quite a remarkable non-violent struggle continuing to unfold in
Mexico where AMLO's coalition, which rejects the legitimacy of the
electoral victory claimed by Calderon, is continuing to tie up the
nation's capital, while the ruling authorites there seem incapable
of putting an end to the protest and resolving the issue. Imagine
if there were anything like this to ever happen in the U.S., and
then try to imagine Washington, DC tied up over such an issue.)

Partial Vote Recount Favors Obrador

Mexico, Aug 14 (Prensa Latina) Por El Bien de Todos coalition
asserted on Monday that contrary to the National Action Party (PAN)
statement, the partial vote recount favored opposition candidate
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 81 percent of the polling booths.

Vote recount in 9.09 percent of the polling bootas, which began on
Wednesday and the results of which are expected on Monday, uncovered
numerous irregularities, as illegal opening of packages, more or less
votes than voters, and altered ballot minutes.

In the recount of 11,839 polling booths, of the total established for
the July 2 presidential elections, the Federation´s Judiciary
Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) judges detected a favorable 420,000-vote
difference between Lopez Obrador and government Felipe Calderon,
according to preliminary reports.

For the Por el Bien de Todos representatives, those data are more
than enough for the TEPJF to cancel the polling booths where the
errors were detected, because they are not arithmetic
inconsistencies, but signs of electoral fraud to favor Calderon.

After the vote recount, contrary to what the PAN members asserted,
there was confirmation of the changes in 81 percent of the polling
booths, in reference to the results announced by the Federal
Electoral Institute on July 6, they asserted.

According to the statistics spread by the coalition, Calderon lost
13,679 votes accredited to him illegally, an overwhelming proof to
open and recount all the votes, they said.

The PAN leadership sustains that the recount ratified Calderon´s
victory, because the difference found is 500 mere votes between both
contestants, and accused Lopez Obrador of trying to violate the
constitutional order to become president.



from the August 15, 2006 edition -
The party at the heart of Mexico City's protest

After disputed election, backers of candidate Obrador aim to salsa
dance and sculpt their way to democracy.

By Sara Miller Llana

To its critics, the massive ongoing occupation of downtown Mexico
City, led by presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is a
hotbed of anarchy and a breeding ground for violence in the wake of
the country's disputed July 2 election.

Yet a visitor could easily mistake this historic moment in Mexico's
budding multiparty democracy for, well, a night at the summer fair.

Along more than five miles of the blockade, circus-size tents cover
couples dancing salsa and merengue. Children whirl on kiddy rides. A
comedian draws laughs from a crowd eating corn-on-the-cob and
drinking cola. There are any number of one-man guitar shows, folding
chairs provided.

The demonstration was called two weeks ago by the leftist leader, who
trails conservative Felipe Calderón by little more than half a
percentage point, to demand a full vote-by-vote recount to clear up
doubts of fraud. An electoral court denied the request, wrapping up a
review of 9 percent of polling places Sunday, a move many expect
won't alter the results. Obrador told a crowd Sunday to be prepared
to resist as long as necessary: "We could be here for years if the
circumstances merit it."

His tactics have drawn ire from commuters and businesses, who've lost
many hours and millions of dollars. But the atmosphere under the
tarps stands in contrast to angry rhetoric on both sides and claims
that Mexico's nascent democracy could buckle under strain. In fact
it's a sign, experts say, of democracy in action.

"Latin American politics today is a bit of a carnival," says Riordan
Roett, head of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins School of
Advanced International Studies. "This is something [the people] could
not have practiced in the same way 15 or 20 years ago ... What we are
seeing is a massification of politics."

Far from a violent protest, the sit-in, or plantón as it's known in
Spanish, is a family affair, with music, rides, and art classes. It's
a free daycamp of sorts. Chess, basketball, and soccer tournaments -
on turf grass set up on the street - have been organized. "Parents
can leave their kids here if they have to work," says Victor
Maldonado Garcia as he watches over kids quietly coloring photos of
Obrador in an art "workshop" with markers and pencils.

Like any good festival, the plantón has offered opportunities for
novice artists. Take David Chino, who's always taken photos as a
hobby but never dreamed of having his own exhibit. Now he basks in
the applause that erupts as a sheet of paper is lifted to reveal his
photos of women leaders from his hometown. "I feel happy," says Mr.
Chino, "that my point of view can be expressed for so many."

Mexico's 2006 election, the first since the demise of 71 years of
one-party rule in 2000, is often compared to the 1988 elections, when
fraud kept the ruling party in power. Then angry protests erupted -
but to no avail.

Obrador "has the privilege of organizing nonviolent resistance
because he does not have to risk an aggressive response," says John
Ackerman, an expert on Mexican electoral law at the National
Autonomous University of Mexico. "It was more tense then. There was a
lot less hope that the people could be successful." On Sunday Obrador
called for major rallies in September, including one to determine the
future of his movement.

Obrador has even begun comparing his nonviolent struggle to that of
Martin Luther King Jr. If the court, which must certify a winner by
Sept. 6, declares Mr. Calderón the winner, Mr. Roett says Obrador has
an important political choice to make. "You can't say, 'I respect the
rules only if I win,' " he says.

For now, visitors stroll along car-free streets and inspect facades
and statues that are typically just a blur from inside a cab. The
foot-traffic is a boon for capitalists, who sell everything from
books to flan in plastic cups.

Most activities carry a political tone. On children's rides, posters
call President Fox a traitor. Protesters leave their tents to hear
speeches by Obrador, who invokes legendary leaders, such as Benito
Juárez, the nation's first indigenous president, in his struggle for
the underserved. Such comparisons seem overblown to some, but like
many supporters, Julio César López says Obrador is the only modern
leader who cares about the poor. He's begun wiring together wooden
crates for a sculpture to tower above the tarps. When it's done it
will feature a two-headed bust, made from bamboo and newspaper, of
Obrador's profile emerging from that of Benito Juárez.

• Ms. Llana is Latin America correspondent for the Monitor and USA

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