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Saturday, July 01, 2006 

Hoy es Mexico's big day

Today, July 2, more than 70 million registered voters will be voting in Mexico's national election. Voters will be choosing a president, legislators, three state governors and the mayor of Mexico City.

There are five candidates that are contesting in Mexico's presidential election - Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Felipe Calderón, Roberto Madrazo, Patricia Mercado and Roberto Campa. The three leading contenders are: Background and political ideas of the three main candidates is provided by the BBC and Wikipedia.

Andrés López Obrador
López Obrador, 52, is one of the most popular politicians in Mexico and was almost barred from running. Last year, Mexico's attorney-general tried to derail his bid for the presidency by impeaching him over a minor land dispute. After hundreds of thousands marched in his support in Mexico City, the legal action against him was dropped.

During his tenure as mayor of Mexico City, he gained a reputation for his honesty, a grueling work schedule and his implementation of various public works and social programs that are meant to help the poor and disadvantaged: single mothers, senior citizens and the physically disabled and mentally ill.

He has also founded the first new university in Mexico City in three decades, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México (UACM).

In 1996, López Obrador appeared on national TV drenched in blood following confrontations with law enforcement authorities for blocking Pemex oil wells defending the rights of local Indians impacted by pollution. (video)

Campaign Platform
López Obrador's campaign slogan is "for the good of all, first the poor" and has campaigned around his "50 Commitments To Rebuild National Pride" platform, which stress the recognition of indigenous people's rights, scholarships for the handicapped and improving healthcare and education. Recently, the Washington Post ran an article comparing López Obrador with Franklin D. Roosevelt.

His economic program is based on a social-democratic and Keynesian ideology that relies on public investments and greater purchasing power among the poor and middle classes to stimulate aggregate demand, which, in turn, would stimulate growth. With its tendency to redistribute income downward, this type of ideology is considered "leftist" in Mexico, especially in Northern Mexico along the US-Mexico border.

Felipe Calderón
Calderón, 44, a Harvard educated lawyer, is the son of his party's, National Action Party (PAN), founder, Luis Calderon Vega.

He is no stranger to Mexican politics. He was a federal representative in the Legislative Assembly, and on two different occasions in the Chamber of Deputies. He ran for the governorship of Michoacan in 1995 and is also a former president of his party from 1996 to 1999. Under President Fox, Calderón was appointed director of Banobras, a national development bank, and later as Mexico's energy secretary from 2002 to 2004.

He has run a negative campaign against his left-wing rival, linking him to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in TV ads proclaiming: "Lopez Obrador is a danger to Mexico".

Campaign Platform
Calderón is running on a platform that is similar to the Republican Party of the United States, the Conservative Party of Canada or Europe's Christian Democratic parties. He is running based on the ideals that founded the party in the 1940s: faithfulness to Church and family, support for private enterprise and assistance to those who have less.

He has backed the strengthening of the social-welfare program called Oportunidades, which targets support to the extremely poor. Calderón's anti-poverty strategy centers on transfers of income and services to the very poor, and the long-term building of human capital.

Calderón is favored by the business community because he wants to promote economic growth by stimulating private investment. He has pledged to continue the free market policies pursued by President Vicente Fox. He has also pledged to rule Mexico with an iron fist, which would mean life sentences for kidnappers. He has also said he will push for a migration agreement with the US to legalize residency for Mexicans who have lived there for over three years.

Roberto Madrazo
Madrazo, 53, is the son of Carlos Alberto Madrazo Becerra. He is also a career politician. He first joined the PRI as a teen and has represented the party in numerous functions. He later was elected as senator, federal deputy, governor of Tabasco, his home state. He is also the president of the PRI.

Although he is the PRI's candidate, after the primaries, an alliance was formed with the PVEM (Mexican Green Ecologist Party), he is also the candidate for that party.

Campaign Platform
It is hard to tell what is Madrazo's campaign platform. One could speculate that the party that has ruled Mexico for over 70 years, the PRI main objective is to regain and retaining it's existing power. Since the PRI has governed for so many years, the party consist of almost every political view within its ranks. According to Wikipedia, its political ideology is social democracy.

So far, Madrazo has campaigned on the importance of Mexico's country's water resources, which has been a major issue along the US-Mexico border. So he has mainly been targeting important PRI power centers along the border where water is a major issue.

According to Bloonberg, in May, Mexican Senator Manuel Bartlett, a leader within PRI, has urged its members to cast their votes for López Obrador in the presidential election to defeat Calderon. Some would say, it is an informal alliance between the two parties, but that is not confirmed and still remain speculation.

Currently, the polls show López Obrador and Calderón are runing a very close race. According to last polls conducted before a mandatory polling blackout which began seven days ago show López Obrador slightly ahead of Calderón. Two polls, Reforma and El Universal, show López Obrador (36%) 2 points ahead of Calderón (34%) with Madrazo at 25% and 26%. Only one poll, Ulises Beltran y Asociados, shows López Obrador and Calderón dead even at 34%.

Mexican election officials are expecting very few to vote on Sunday for those who live aboard. The rules surrounding expatriates' right to vote and candidates campaigning outside of Mexico have become very strict , therefore, this is a major factor for their lack of participation.

US Involvment in Mexican Elections
BushCo has been paying very close attention to Mexico's election, and it also appears BushCo is hell-bent on ripping democracy from Mexican hands.

As much as Bush has been critical of the New York Times for leaking of Dudya's financial records wiretap on US citizens, the Times, Mexico's Election Pits Promise Against Fear, has also made an effort to discredit López Obrador.
"My fear is that with López Obrador we could end up very soon with an all-powerful president again," Enrique Krauze, an author and historian, said Monday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, adding that Mr. López Obrador was "very ignorant" and "inward looking" and "dismisses the rule of law as something made by the bourgeoisie to oppress the poor."
The Los Angeles Times similarly reported:
A victory by leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on July 2 would add an emphatic exclamation point to a series of Latin American elections that has seen voters roundly reject the "Washington consensus," the model that emphasizes fiscal discipline and pro-market policies.

A victory by conservative candidate Felipe Calderon might make Mexico a stronger U.S. ally than ever before.
Like Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Lopez Obrador is the candidate of an established leftist party with a proud tradition of resistance to authoritarianism.
Lopez Obrador is a dark-skinned leader in a country where the fair-skinned tend to dominate the political class — something he shares with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. And like Evo Morales of Bolivia, he has credentials as an activist and street fighter — Lopez Obrador was bloodied by police during demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud in Tabasco.
Just recently, New York Times' Enrique Krauze has taken up the editorial position that claims López Obrador is sending out a messianic message that would usher in a cult of personality that is damaging to democratic ideals.

The right has no doubtly been working overtime to make sure that the standard meme is heard - socialism will fail. Propagandist have eveb gone out of its way to declare Obrador a disaster while helping Calderón's campaign paint Obrador as being Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Evo Morales of Bolivia. Recently, Greg Palast reported that BushCo has plans to rig the Mexican election.

All the target nations had one thing in common besides a lack of terrorists: each had a left-leaning presidential candidate or a left-leaning president in office. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez, bete noir of the Bush Administration, was facing a recall vote. In Mexico, the anti-Bush Mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was (and is) leading the race for the Presidency.
In Mexico this Sunday, we can expect to see the same: challenges of Obrador voters in a race, the polls say, is too close to call. Not that Mexico’s rulers need lessons from the Bush Administration on how to mess with elections.

In 1988, the candidate for Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR), who opinion polls showed as a certain winner, somehow came up short against the incumbent party of the ruling elite. Some of the electoral tricks were far from subtle. In the state of Guerrero, the PDR was leading on official tally sheets by 359,369. Oddly, the official final count was 309,202 for the ruling party, only 182,874 for the PDR. Challenging the vote would have been dangerous. Two top officials of Obrador’s party were assassinated during the campaign.
What is making this election interesting today, Obrador has already accused the Calderón of attempted fraud, so even if Calderón prevails, will there be a likelihood of unrest. The presidential elections in Mexico are of great interest to Mexico's regional and here in the US. But for those who are following the immigration debate, one does have to wonder, if Andrés López Obrador were to win, will the Bush Administration begin their mass deportation in retaliation to the election result? Or is Calderón win, what would this mean for Mexico, will it be business as usual and what does he mean he would rule with an iron fist?

Today will be very interesting. Stay tune.

UPDATE: Reforma is reporting Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE)has reported 430 incidents. Some of the incidents happening in Mexico.

Two PRD candidates in the city of Guerrero have been assisnated.

In other parts of Mexico, there just have been minor incidences

IFE's Jose Luis Ashane Hoaxes has reported that 200 ballots were stolen.

Tempers were flaring in the the outskirts of the Mexican capital.

A few reports from El Universal (Reports are in Spanish).
PRI reported that in the cities of Reynosa and Tampico, Tamaulipas, there were frictions civil employees (PAN supporters) and militants (PRD supporters).

There were 25 thousand observers from 60 different countries.

The PRI party plans to oppose the election of the election irregularities.

9:30pm- The president of PRI, Mariano Palacios, goes on camera to call on the IFE (Mexican electoral board) to not leak electoral results ahead of the official preliminary report to be announced at midnight. A smiling Roberto Madrazo stands by his side, looking around the room. via The Latin Americanist

Early Results
Marcelo Ebrard 52%; Demetrio Sodi 28% y Beatriz Paedes 17%. (Tv Azteca)

In Guanajuato Tv Azteca is reporting: PAN's Aventaja Juan Manuel Oliva - 64%, PRI-PVEM's Miguel Ángel Chico - 24%; and PRD-PT's Ricardo García Oceguera - 12% (Tv Azteca)

In Guanajuato, Televisa is reporting: PAN's Aventaja Juan Manuel Oliva - 59%; PRI-PVEM's Miguel Ángel Chico - 25%; and PRD-PT's Ricardo García Oceguera - 15%. (Televisa)

In Jalisco, Tv Azteca is reporting: PAN's Emilio González - 46%; PRI's Arturo Zamora - 41%; PRD-PT's Enrique Ibarra - 9%. (TV Azteca)
(more below the fold)

As of (10:06 CT) 12.8% of the vote
Calderón 39.55%
López 35.03%
Madrazo 18.78%

As of 10:36 CT with 20.25% of the votes counted
Calderón 38.91%
López 35.50%
Madrazo 18.92%

At 11:00 CT with with 30% of the vote counted
Calderón - 38.5%
López - 35.5%
Madrazo - Non factor

At 05:30AM CT with with 87.2% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.88%
López - 35.65%

However Stace Medellin reported that at 11:20PM: AMLO declares victory! The current numbers show the percent difference dwindling for the PAN, and it seems AMLO has his own numbers that say he'll win by 500,000 votes. And this is also confirmed on Univision.
Obrador se proclamó ganador
Andrés Manuel López Obrador se pronunció respetuoso de las decisiones del IFE, pero afirmó que de acuerdo con los resultados del PRD, ganó la presidencia de México.

However, on Reforma.com both candidates declared victory.
Y el ganador es...
Aunque Calderón y López Obrador se declararon ganadores de la elección, lo cierto es que hoy México no tiene un vencedor de la contienda presidencial.
As of 05:50AM CT with 89.5% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.77%
López - 35.61%

As of 06:15AM CT with 90.7% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.71%
López - 35.59%
Madrazo - 21.02%

As of 06:30AM CT with 91.88% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.64% - 13,439,408
López - 35.54% - 13,036,825
Madrazo - 21.10% - 7,741,415

As of 06:47AM CT with 92.71% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.62% - 13,520,591
López - 35.50% - 13,107,712
Madrazo - 21.17% - 7,815,996

As of 06:53AM CT with 92.71% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.61% - 13,537,937
López - 35.49% - 13,124,153
Madrazo - 21.18% - 7,832,006

As of 07:05AM CT with 93.26% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.59% - 13,570,835
López - 35.49% - 13,161,635
Madrazo - 21.2% - 7,864,779

As of 07:24AM CT with 93.82% of the vote counted
Calderón - 36.57% - 13,623,611
López - 35.48% - 13,216,663
Madrazo - 21.24% - 7,914,945

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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