Mexican Standoff

It looks like the Mexican Presidential race will be nearly as close as the 2000 race in America, with only a fraction of a percent deciding the race. It looks like PAN center-right candidate Felipe Calderon narrowly won the election, much to the relief of Mexican and world markets, but left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador isn’t letting go of his own victory claim:

Lopez Obrador demanded that electoral officials carry out a manual ballot-by-ballot count, instead of just tallying vote totals as they have been doing.

But Luis Carlos Ugalde, president of the Federal Electoral Institute, said that was not possible.

“Mexican law is very clear on when a ballot box can be opened: only when there are problems with the vote tallies, when the tally sheet has obviously been changed, or when the box has been tampered with,” Ugalde said.

Lopez Obrador is doing what many left-wing populists have tried – using political pressure to swing the election. He is refusing to accept the election results and threatening protests. Lopez Obrador could make the situation in Mexico very tense, potentially tearing the country apart. There had been worries that Lopez Obrador would emulate the worst tactics of left-wing autocrats like Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez – if Lopez Obrador follows through with his threats it would be a strong sign that those fears are well-founded – and the already fragile Mexican economy could go into a tailspin.

Mexico has done much to improve transparency and accountability in its electoral procedures, and unless Lopez Obrador can find anything to substantiate his claims of fraud other than not liking the outcome, his actions could have a profound impact on Mexican politics and threaten the future of the Mexican state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.