Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Poor Mexico

Mexico is a country that suffered decades of oppressive pseudo-democracy, but instead of devolving into a brutal revolution managed, in just a few years, to establish democratic procedures that are literally the envy of the world. Now a conceited demagogue decides that those procedures, by preventing his ascension to power, are wholly corrupt, and has decided to undermine every aspect of Mexican life until his petulant demands are met.

After weeks of protest by supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexican election officials have undertaken a partial recount of last months presidential election. The partial recount isn't sufficient for AMLO: he demands a total recount.

The demand is objectively ridiculous. Election officials, having already proven themselves utterly scrupulous, have decided to sample 9% of the ballots. Should a sample that size not show sufficient irregularities for a full recount, then it is almost certain that no irregularities exist, or at least that there are not so many problems that a shift of hundreds of thousands of votes is likely. But the demand is not supposed to be reasonable; it supposed to either propel Obrador to power, or delegitimize the winning candidate, Felipe Calderon.

The LA Times reports, in an editorial, that some of Obrador's supporters in his own party have grown tired of his protests, which have included shutting down banks, shutting down toll roads, and shutting down traffic in Mexico City. It wouldn't be surprising if that is true, since his party as a whole did quite well in the elections and can't be happy to see the whole process undermined. It is, however, the LA Times that reports this, so it could all be bunk.

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