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World

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les partisans d’Obrador prennent leurs quartiers à Mexico

by Françoise Escarpit, special correspondent in Mexico

Mexico: Obrador’s Supporters Set up their Camp in Mexico City

Translated Sunday 13 August 2006, by Patrick Bolland

Mexico City: the Mexican Left remains strongly mobilised in demanding an official recount of the votes for the presidential election. But the Electoral Commission is refusing to listening to their demands.

It is now five weeks since the general elections in Mexico. Five weeks of mobilisation by the Mexican Left in support of their candidate, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (“AMLO”), who, according to the official results, came in second in the presidential elections, behind the Conservative PAN candidate, with about 0.5% fewer votes. The coalition “For the benefit of all” supporting AMLO’s candidacy has pointed out to the electoral commission (TEPJF) widespread and serious irregularities in the counting of the votes. Two enormous demonstrations have shown the Mexicans’ determination not to fall victim to another fraudulent election, as in 1988 (1), and a citizens’ movement has been organised throughout the country to demand a a recount of every single vote.

In the last week, the principal arteries of the Mexican capital have been occupied by committees supporting AMLO. Debates, children’s activities, speeches by actors, artists, musicians and writers ... Alongside the messages, Mexican-style dazibaos, songs, there has been a non-stop creative pressure. Both real chaos within the city and a popular celebration in which hundreds of thousands of people are participating daily.

The decision of the Electoral Commission

On Saturday, the seven members of the Electoral Commission made an initial unanimous decision based on criteria which were anything but transparent. The Commission decided that the votes in slightly more than 9% of the voting stations (11,839 out of 130,477) would be recounted, in 149 of 300 districts in 26 States (out of 32), in order to estimate the degree of seriousness of the irregularities. Judges and magistrates would be specially mandated by the Federal Judicial Council to do this. One might anticipate that this might be a first stage and that, depending on the the verdict of the magistrates and judges, which is expected on 14 August, the National Tribunal will then make the decision to declare one the two candidates victor, or to annul the election.

When the tribunal announced its decision, tens of thousands of people converged on Mexico City’s central square, the Zocalo. In a brief speech, AMLO called for calm to stop things getting out of hand, while continuing to call for civil resistance. Yesterday a new mass meeting was scheduled to consider new pressure tactics. On Monday next, the holiday period will be finished and school classes will start again. But AMLO’s supporters are still demanding a recount, vote by vote.


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