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Sun Sep 10 2006 (Updated 09/11/06) Leftist Movement and President of Mexico on Collision Course
The Federal Electoral Tribunal, the ultimate arbiter in the Mexican system to decide the validity of an election, ruled against leftist Andres Manuel López Obrador and his army of supporters on September 5, and declared the conservative Felipe Calderón the new President of Mexico. The Tribunal took a very conservative position when they said the PRD, López Obrador’s party, had to prove to them that the vote was fraudulent, rather than the Tribunal’s undertaking its own investigation. The PRD had asked for a recount of every one of the 41.5 million votes cast in the July 2 election, but the Tribunal only recounted nine percent of the ballots.

The credibility of the Electoral Institute, which ran the election, was damaged when two facts were revealed: Calderón was the best man at the wedding of the Electoral Institute's President; and Calderón’s brother-in-law was contracted to help create the Mexican voting system. Global Exchange, one of the official election observers, said they saw gross irregularities. The mainstream media chorused that the observers saw the election as fair, ignoring the Global Exchange report. The reality of the election was also obscured because about two-thirds of the 673 observers were foreign diplomats, who could not comment publicly on the details of what they saw.

Meanwhile masses of people continue to camp out in downtown Mexico City to protest the election, spreading out from the Zócalo to side streets; blocking business as usual. They planned to shut down President Fox’s final State of the Nation address to the Congress from the outside, but the plan changed at the final hour, and it was leftist legislators on the inside who made it impossible for Fox to speak. They took over the dais, chanting. Fox left and spoke on television instead. He avoided statements about the conflict at hand.

There has been violence by police against protesters in the encampment. Other situations around Mexico, particularly in Oaxaca and Atenco, remain very tense. The mainstream and alternative presses agree that the PRD and the new President are on a collision course. López Obrador says there are no plans to slow the momentum of the ongoing demonstrations. On September 16, Mexico’s Independence Day, López Obrador's movement plans to hold a national convention to form a parallel government.

Standoff at the Zócalo | From Counterpunch: The Fraud in Mexico, John Ross: Death of the Mexican Presidency, Mexico on Collision Course | Analyses from Socialist Press: 1 | 2 | 3 | La Jornada on the Blockades—Translated | Faultlines on the Election

Photos by Bradley of Mexico City in August 1 | 2

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