Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Told You So Redux

The Mexican judges charged with responding to losing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's complaints of fraud have eviscerated AMLO's complaints and cleared the way for Felipe Calderon's inauguration. As I suspected, the recount of 9% of the polls changed the result hardly a whit, and the court dismissed the allegations of fraud as flimsy and unfounded.

Ceci Connolly at the Washington Post recaps the results and reports what might follow should Obrador continue his protest. The most ominous part is that Obrador's party plans to hold its own convention and decide whether to elect Obrador as the "legitimate" President of a resistance government or simply authorize him to be the leader of a peaceful civil resistance. The latter sounds dangerous, the former like civil war. Perhaps there is some nuance in the rhetoric that is lost on me for not being knowledgeable about Mexican politics.

Typical for Obrador, he doesn't say which role he would prefer, saying instead that it is up to his supporters to decide. He was similarly passive-aggressive when the protests first began, saying that he couldn't control how his supporters reacted to his loss, even as he stoked the controversy surrounding the election results.

Also ominous are the coincidence of three events that will take place in coming weeks in the Zocalo, the locus of the protests: Vincente Fox's final state of the union address, the Mexican Independence celebrations, and Fox's final review of the Mexican military.

I think the controversy may die down now that the judges have found so strongly against Obrador. 70% of the Mexican public is against his party's planned "convention", and even his party's spokesman seems to recognize that Obrador has lost his fight. It is better for Mexico the sooner it ends: a country with such mature elections after so many years of corruption deserves a better fate.

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