How many elections can you have stolen
Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times
Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a rally of his
supporters yesterday in the Zócalo, a square
in Mexico City.
Leftist Predicts Unrest Without Complete Recount of Mexican Election
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. and GINGER THOMPSON
Published: July 9, 2006
MEXICO CITY, July 8 — While the announced winner of last Sunday's presidential election, Felipe Calderón, kept a low profile on Saturday, his leftist rival led a rally of at least 150,000 people, charged the polling had been marred by fraud and suggested there would be civil unrest without a vote-by-vote recount.
"If there is not democracy, there will be instability," said the rival, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, at a news conference just hours before he addressed his angry and defiant supporters in Mexico City's central plaza.
At 5:50 p.m., he took the stage in the Zócalo, the historic central square in front of the National Palace, to fire a broadside at what he described as an oligarchy of top-level politicians and businessmen.
"We are aware we are confronting a powerful group, economically and politically, that are accustomed to winning at all costs, without moral scruples," he told the crowd. He maintained that this group had "conspired against democracy" and that "they are the ones who now want to put a servant in the presidency."
Mr. López Obrador called on his supporters to march Wednesday from every electoral district in the country to the capital, an echo of his 1994 march from Tabasco to the capital to protest his defeat in the governor's race.
"Let it be clear, " he said. "This is a peaceful movement, and we will never fall for the provocations of our adversaries."
Mr. Calderón, of the conservative National Action Party, effectively ceded the day's spotlight to Mr. López Obrador. After he was announced the victor on Thursday by a narrow margin of 243,000 votes, he had begun to give hints about how he would approach issues like trade, globalization and dealings with the United States on immigration. And on Friday he kept a whirlwind schedule of meetings and appearances.
But on Saturday, Mr. Calderón, the former energy minister, stayed out of the public eye.
Mr. López Obrador, the former Mexico City mayor and firebrand leader of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party, spent the day laying out his arguments for a recount and revving up his followers.
He said his opponent's supporters had resorted to fraud and vote-buying in northern states where the conservative party is dominant, like Jalisco and Guanajuato. He also said he had been the victim of a smear campaign on television and radio that far exceeded campaign spending limits.
He said that the Federal Electoral Institute should have recounted Sunday's ballots during the official tally. He pointed out that mistakes favoring Mr. Calderón were found in about 2,600 cases where officials did recount votes, when tally sheets were missing or contained errors.
He said he would present a case for recounting the votes to the Federal Electoral Tribunal on Sunday, and that he would also challenge the validity of the election before the Supreme Court, arguing that President Vicente Fox had interfered with it.
They've stolen a couple of elections from this guy, but make no mistake, this is a dangerous game, it could wind up in the streets. Hopefully he can get heard in court, because the problem starts if he's just blown off.
posted by Steve @ 3:11:00 AM