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Monday, July 03, 2006 

BushCo Wins Mexico Loses

PAN's Felipe Calderón declared victory in a bitterly contested election over as official returns show him ahead of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), 36% to 35% with 96% of the votes counted.

But like a thief in the night, what seemed like a win for López Obrador, turned out to be just a dream. At 11:20PM CT López Obrador had declared victory with the current numbers dwindling for Calderón, which he told his supporters that it was confirmed by the Federal Election Institute (IFE).
"Tenemos información de conteos rápidos en donde estamos cuando menos 500 mil votos arriba. Vamos a seguir informando a los ciudadanos", subrayó el candidato izquierdista.

Confirmó su respeto a los resultados del IFE el próximo miércoles e hizo un llamado a las instituciones electorales a que respeten los resultados.
Oddly, within a few minutes, Cardenas declared victory too.

How was it possible for López Obrador to make such a claim of victory?

Ana Maria Salazar Slack at at Mexico Today provides a link to parametria.com.mx which provided hour by hour exit polling for the Excelsior newspaper. According to the exit polls, López Obrador won.

(I saved the pic just in case it mysteriously disapears.)

Here are the last poll numbers before the election via boz at Bloggings by boz. Only three polls have Calderon winning the election, while the rest point to an AMLO victory.
El Universal: AMLO 36, Calderon 34, Madrazo 26
Milenio: AMLO 35, Calderon 31, Madrazo 22
Mitofsky: AMLO 36, Calderon 33, Madrazo 27
Reforma: AMLO 36, Calderon 34, Madrazo 25
Zogby: Calderon 30, AMLO 27, Madrazo 24
Excelsior: AMLO 36, Calderon 34, Madrazo 27
GEA-ISA: Calderon 33, AMLO 31, Madrazo 20
Marketing Politico: Calderon 31, AMLO 29, Madrazo 22

Guadalajara University: AMLO 36, Calderon 34, Madrazo 25
After seeing two elections get hijacked in the United States, the events that occurred in Mexico is beginning to resemble the past two US Presidential elections. (see here and here)

Washington Post's Ceci Connolly, Campaign Conexión, the Post's blog on the elections, wrote an interesting post - Shades of Bush-Gore 2000?

Was the election hijacked too? Was Greg Palast correct? This morning Palast weighed in on the recent situation and wrote:
As in Florida in 2000, as in Ohio in 2004, the exit polls show the voters voted for the progressive candidate, but the race is "officially" too close to call.

But they will call it — after they steal it. Reuters News agency reports that, as of 8pm Eastern time, as voting concluded in Mexico, exit polls show Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the "left-wing" Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) leading in exit polls over Felipe Calderon of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN).

We’ve said again and again: Exit polls tell us how voters say they voted, but the voters can't tell pollsters if their vote will be counted. In Mexico, counting the vote is an art, not a science — and Calderon's ruling crew is very artful indeed. The PAN-controlled official electoral commission, not surprisingly, has announced that the presidential tally is too close to call.
Many will consider this just being very coincidental, and doubt that there is a possibility of this election being rigged, however, there was another major coincidence that also occurred last night and that has to do with the news media.

In Connolly's, Shades of Bush-Gore 2000?, she writes:
Televisa, the 800-pound Mexican media gorilla, was also holding off on projections, announcing the presidential contest was within the margin of error. These guys weren't going to make a mistake like their U.S. counterparts.

Similarly, El Universal was playing it safe. But Reforma, with less than 2 percent of the vote counted, was showing Felipe Calderón comfortably ahead. (Warning: Do not go to the bank with that.)
Erwin C. at The Latin Americanist provides a timeline of events that occurred last night after the polls were closed.
[Key to initials: AMLO = Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. RM = Ricardo Madrazo. FC = Felipe Calderon. IFE = Mexican electoral board]

11:40pm- CNN en Español reports on the results of the election before the IFE's official preliminary report, a move the broadcaster on Azteca America deems "irresponsible." (Mind you, the broadcaster did not name CNN en Español directly, but that was easily inferred in his snarky comments). CNN en Español latest numbers (with about 20% of votes counted) is FC in 1st with 38.9%, ALMO 2nd with about 35%, and RM in 3rd with 28.9%.

Hypocrisy? Now Azteca America’s Armando Guzman acknowledges that so far the ballots counted "may" favor FC, but warns that "this is a horse race" which is far from over.

12:55am- A whirlwind of action over the past twenty minutes:

-Azteca America returns to its diatribe against "television networks from the United States" that "lied and bluffed you" by giving preliminary results.
Now go back to November 2, 2004. One of the major complaint regarding the US election was how the news media were impatient on holding off on announcing the winner.
Time after time, nervous television presenters in the US hedged on whether to call states for President George W Bush or John Kerry, invoking lessons from the mistakes of the 2000 election. ... But the networks split, with Fox and NBC calling the key swing state of Ohio for Mr Bush in the middle of the night, long before ABC, CBS and CNN felt comfortable calling the race.
There will be those who will doubt these assumptions as evidence of election fraud, and choose to ignore the coincidences between Mexico’s and the US elections. I think this is a foolish attitude to take considering there are many similarities that occurred in Mexico that just happened to occur in the 2000 and 2004 US Presidential elections.

As of this writing at 13:32CT only 97.84% of the votes counted
Calderón - 36.35% - 13,944,924
López - 35.37% - 13,570,593
Madrazo - 21.57% - 8,274,051

compare to the last update I gave at 8:13AM with only 95% of the votes counted. Sort of odd how slow the last 5% of votes are being counted.

As of 08:13AM CT with 94.99% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.52% - 13,730,646
López - 35.44% - 13,323,686
Madrazo - 21.34% - 8,022,590

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