Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Tribunal Speaks in the Style of MTV - Mexican Election Post #25

The Federal Tribunal issued its final decision today in Mexico City. Rather than write yet another rant I thought it might be interesting to cover the decision from a number of perspectives using the MTV Pop-up video format. Sources are indicated in each comment. The pop-ups are in this color. This is a long post and does not include all possible sources but a sampling of various sources, around the US.

The Tribunal's Decision -
Radio 680 The unanimous decision by the Federal Electoral Tribunal rejected allegations of systematic fraud and awarded Calderon the presidency by 233,831 votes out of 41.6 million cast in the July 2 elections - a margin of 0.56 per cent. The ruling cannot be appealed. (What part of unanimous does AMLO not understand?)

Chicago Tribune - But the errors and irregularities, while numerous, did not present evidence of fraud, the judges said. They did not significantly favor one party over another. Some of the votes thrown out cost Calderon. Some cost Lopez Obrador. And some cost the other candidates. In total, Calderon's lead over Lopez Obrador, which had stood at nearly 240,000 votes out of nearly 42 million cast, shrunk by a bit more than 4,000. (OK, so the review of the 9% of the votes produced very little real movement in the total vote.)

"There are rules that the judges cannot override," said Leonel Castillo Gonzalez, president of the tribunal. And the rules allowed the tribunal to examine only those precincts in which the Democratic Revolution Party or the National Action Party or others made specific challenges. (Judge Gonzalez supports the rule of law.)

For example, Calderon lost about 81,000 votes because of annulments, but Lopez Obrador also lost about 76,000 votes. (Below, see that AMLO claims the Tribunal did not release numbers, evidently these are not numbers.)

Lexington Herald Leader - "We should close the door on those who try to derail the future of Mexico, those who try to return to the past, those who try to survive politically with threats and blackmail," Fox said. (Fox is right. That is seemingly what the majority of Mexicans are also doing.)

The Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington said a study of available figures from the recount raised enough questions to justify demands for a wider review of the vote. (When you read the "research" (5 pages total) it is a mumbo jumbo of statistical nonsense. The Center is pretty left of center, so no surprise here.)

Washington Post Mindful of the overheated environment, the tribunal urged the candidates and their political parties on Tuesday to take the "high road" in debating the day's events. But that appeared highly unlikely. (At least one candidate will not follow their advice.)

Lopez Obrador and his strategy-
International Herald Tribune - Lopez Obrador has called supporters to a mass meeting to plot a strategy on Sept. 16 in Mexico City's central plaza — the same day and place Mexico's army stages an annual Independence Day parade. (Presumably AMLO does not believe in the rule of law but the rule of AMLO)

"The seizure of the congressional dais in the moments before Fox's speech revealed the twin strategies of López Obrador to use street demonstrations and Mexico's legislature to hammer away at Fox, Calderón and their National Action Party, or PAN, analysts said," writes Sam Enriquez in the Los Angeles Times. (Early in the election the LA Times became a lapdog for AMLO, here is an example of their continuing puppyhood.)

Lexington Herald - On Tuesday, the Convergencia party - one of three that nominated Lopez Obrador for the presidency - left the electoral alliance, saying "it is time to rethink strategies." (AMLO, I guess they won't go to your spoiled sport convention.)

Ceci Connolly in the WPost - "'If he were just a street guy, that'd be one thing,' said Daniel Lund, a Mexico City-based political analyst and pollster. 'But he's one of the best political operatives in the country. His goal for the PRD is to deepen their roots and build electorally.'" (So let's see how he has done so far - polls suggest if the election were held today 70% of the voters would support Calderon. But then on July 2, 60+% did not support AMLO).

Lopez Obrador is not among them. He insists he won. And he has added the Federal Electoral Tribunal to his growing list of Mexican institutions that he says cannot be trusted. (My God, here a conspiracy, there a conspiracy, everywhere a conspiracy.One wonders whether the snack vendor below is also a part of the conspiracy.) 

Lopez Obrador supporters accuse the tribunal of making a political decision rather than a judicial one. They also complain that the court's seven judges, whose decisions cannot be appealed, have failed to fully report their findings in a timely and open manner. (The IFE according to all international sources was among the cleanest elections in the world. The tribunal presented its numbers in a non-partisan way. AMLOs people simply did not like the law.)
Chicago Tribune - "This is a lack of transparency, because the public does not know the results of the recount," said Horacio Duarte, an electoral lawyer for Lopez Obrador's coalition, after the tribunal last week released only partial results of its partial recount. (Evidently no one in the AMLO camp can count.)

BBC - "This has been fraudulent from start to finish," Claudio Martinez told the Associated Press news agency. (Is he describing AMLOs tactics?)

"The only possibility for a dialogue with the right's candidate would be for (Mr Calderon) to refuse the gift of the presidency which he did not earn at the ballot box," said Gerardo Fernandez Norona, spokesman for Mr Lopez Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). (Evidently, if Calderon does what AMLO wants we will not need a convention on the 16th.)

Chicago Tribune - "I expected this" (of course he did he knew the results) – AMLO Lopez Obrador called the ruling "offensive and unacceptable." (As Dick Tuck once said when he lost an election by a wider margin, the people have spoken, the bastards.)

Calderon said. "I will not allow the decision taken by the Mexican people to be supplanted in a violent way by a few people." (Calderon's people understand what AMLO is trying to get them to do and they will not be pulled in.)

Lexington Herald - One person following the protesters closely has been Miguel Angel Mata Garcia, 49, who pushed a cart with soft drinks and candy. Mata said that he and other vendors have negotiated agreements with the Mexico City government run by Lopez Obrador's PRD party.
"We're all designated to accompany certain protesters to peddle soft drinks, candy, chips, snacks," said Mata. "These people scream a lot so they need constant refreshments to clear their dry throats." (OK, so now we know the true issue for AMLO, more snacks.)

Boston Herald - Lopez Obrador adviser Manuel Camacho told the Associated Press that the court’s recommendation “does not take into account what is actually happening in the country.” (Isn't that more that the court ignored AMLOs inane rants?)

NYT - “It may be the final legal word, but it certainly is not the end of the political battle,” said Denise Dresser, a political scientist and columnist here. (Especially when AMLO has declined to accept the results of the July 2 vote.)

The effect of coming to a decision -
Bloomberg - Mexico's bonds, stocks and currency have rallied since the election on expectations Calderon will maintain Fox's policies. The peso has gained 4.5 percent against the dollar, the benchmark stock index surged 12 percent and the 10-year peso bond yield is down 0.95 percentage point to 8.16 percent. (The financial markets suggest that they accept what AMLO does not.)

Financial times - During Tuesday's session, the market appeared to definitely heading toward levels of 10.80 pesos per dollar (ppd), however, the lowest point posted was at 10.8335 ppd, according to information posted by the Central Bank (Banxico).
At the end of the day, the interbank 48-hour spot dollar finished at 10.8480 ppd, down 1.65 cents compared to Monday's final quote at 10.8645 ppd. (More indications that the financial markets trust the decision. If the financial markets thought this was a fraud, they would not have reacted in this way.)

NYT - A tiny table at a cafe in Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood reflected the country’s political divide. Jose Jesus Urbina Carillo, 81, a retired laborer who spent a decade as an illegal immigrant in the United States, fumed at Mr. Calderon’s victory and declared that the country’s elite would continue controlling Mexico. ``It’s more of the same,’’ he said, spewing profanities.
Across the table, blowing smoke in the air, was Yanco Kwick, 53, a businessman who voted for Mr. Calderon and tried his best to explain to his friend why the country was on the right course. ``I’m not shouting with joy but I think Calderon is better than the leftist,’’ Mr. Kwick said. ``We’ll be stable and that’s all I want.’’ (This may be a very clear picture of the divisions - profanity versus stability.)

Calderon's next steps -
Bloomberg - Calderon, a 44-year-old lawyer from President Vicente Fox's National Action Party, plans to add 60 billion pesos ($5.5 billion) of spending in his first year to broaden access to health care, housing subsidies and other handouts for Mexico's poor, Ernesto Cordero, who is in charge of public policy in Calderon's transition team, said in an interview. Calderon's move toward Lopez Obrador's causes means that some of his own campaign initiatives, such as opening the state oil monopoly to private investment, may have to wait. ``We have to be patient,'' Cordero said. (While AMLO fritters away his 35%, Calderon seems to be trying to figure out how to build his coalition.)

Reuters - "Without a doubt the next government of Mexico must have a clear social leaning," he said. Juan Camilo Mourino, who is leading Calderon's transition team, said the new government would make the fight against poverty a central theme in an attempt to win over the millions who voted for Lopez Obrador. (Ditto)

NYT - “He has to form a broad coalition against these guys who went out on a limb, or bring them back in from the cold,” said Federico Estevez, a political scientist. (Ditto)

China View - His key promises include cracking down on crime, creating millions of jobs and continuing Fox's tight fiscal policy. In the immediate run-up to the election he dubbed himself "the employment candidate" promising to fight unemployment by offering employers the ability to offer more flexible working conditions; and to fight poverty by offering greater access to credit to people seeking to buy homes, and educate themselves. (OK, so everyone seems to get this but AMLO. But then if you think you are the messiah you don't have to deal with the rule of law.)

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