Sunday, July 2, 2006

Mexico: And the winner is...

...nobody yet. And it will be days until an official winner of the Mexican presidential election is announced. (All times in EST, unless otherwise stated).

[Key to initials: AMLO = Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. RM = Ricardo Madrazo. FC = Felipe Calderon. IFE = Mexican electoral board]

1:45am- The final thought after a busy evening of unfulfilled expectations and high anticipation, courtesy of Mexico Today.

Good night and thank you.

1:20am- Here's what some news outlets have said over the past hour:

-Reuters: "A fiery leftist promising a war on poverty was in a dead heat with a Harvard-educated conservative...rising fears a a contested result could split the country."

-Associated Press: "An official count would begin on Wednesday and a winner will be delared once it's complete."

-BBC: "With a leftist and a conservative running neck and neck, officials decided to count all the votes before declaring a winner."

12:55am- A whirlwind of action over the past twenty minutes:

-Azteca America returns to its diatribe against "television networks from the United States" that "lied and bluffed you" by giving preliminary results.

-The president of the PRI spoke again with RM by his side and called for patience for the time being.

-At the same time, AMLO spoke in front of thousands of supporters at the Zocalo and enthusiastically told them to "smile because we have won."

-Lastly, FC spoke to a small group of supporters outside his campaign headquarters and urged them to support him in his "government of national action."

A few hours ago, the Washington Post's special blog on the elections posted the following: "Shades of Bush-Gore 2000?" Unfortunately that could be the case.

12:30am- Now FC just spoke publicly from his campaign headquarters and he cited individual exit polls that show him as the winner "from the time the first poll was redacted until now". Like AMLO, he has declared himself as the winner.

Here's hoping this doesn't get as ugly as the mudslinging during the campaign

12:25am- AMLO just finished speaking at a news conference and declared himself the winner based on the results from exit polls.

12:15am- So what happens now? According to Univision, the election will not be decided "for days." The "fast count" is really just an estimation done by a set of scientists based on the ballots reported to the IFE. The ballots will not be counted by hand until Wednesday and a more accurate count based by district may start on Friday.

Confused? Well, you're not the only one.

12:00am- Here are the results thus far according to the president of the IFE and based on a "fast count" of over 95% of the ballots:


The IFE cannot calculate a winner since the IFE's calculations "fall within the margin of error."

11:57pm- T-minus three minutes until the IFE's prelim report and the Mexican networks are hyping the anticipation.

11:40pm- CNN en Español reports on the results of the election before the IFE’s official preliminary report, a move the broadcaster on Azteca America deems “irresponsible.” (Mind you, the broadcaster did not name CNN en Español directly, but that was easily inferred in his snarky comments). CNN en Español latest numbers (with about 20% of votes counted) is FC in 1st with 38.9%, ALMO 2nd with about 35%, and RM in 3rd with 28.9%.

Hypocrisy? Now Azteca America’s Armando Guzman acknowledges that so far the ballots counted “may” favor FC, but warns that “this is a horse race” which is far from over.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How unlikely is it that the party in power’s candidate would win an election by a very narrow margin?

How much of an “officialist candidate” candidate is Calderon?
The PAN is the president of Mexico’s party, but Calderon isn’t Fox’s choice, even Fox wasn’t the PAN’s choice. Though technically the party in power’s candidate would be called “officialist”. Calderon and don’t reciprocaly endorse each other’s views and policy.

In a Latin-American context the "officialist candidate" heralds continuance of the outgoing administration, a successor candidate from the incumbent’s party who intherits the infrastructure and maintains the cronyism and reflects the incumbent’s interests. How accurate is this of Calderon?

Calderon has denounced the Bribriesca’s alleged wrongdoings as he maintains his own “clean hands” (despite the “Hildebrando” allegations). He has enunciated divergences with Fox’s immigration, social and energy policies, and suggests a more proactive foreign policy (though not incompatible with united statian interests).

Are their grounds to say the PAN prevailed wrongfully?
I doubt it, but it depends on how broadly we define “wrongfully”, if we make if broad enough, Ebrad couldn’t be sworn in as mayor. Claims the elections were “rigged” must be objectively substantiated. There have been several denunciations with enough specificity to be dismissed. Lopez Obrador claims the election was rigged because; the PREP posted results in a specific order, 3 million of his votes were missing or stolen, duplicated and statitical impossibilities were published to substantiate a fraud.

The PREP was updated in a sequence intended to induce the gradual notion Calderon prevailed (his narrow margin was posted in gradual increments) and other candidates figures remained unchanged (a statistical impossibility). The PREP does not deliver any data until at least 2 hours after the last polling station submits documetnation, so there is no possibility data published could ever influence voters in their choices. To address this you need to know a bit about the PREP (Programa de Resultados Preliminares). This is a statistical sampling method refined by the IFE over the past 15 ( years in a series of negotiated adjustments with all registered political parties and statistical experts from the IFE. The early returns program applied sampled returns from over 7 thousand strategically selected polling stations to disclose an accurate prognostication of the final result. Given that there are over 130 thousand polling places it is easy to see the system could be grossly off. Evidently, expert statisticians spent a decade with party hacks adjusting the sampling, and developed something fairly accurate (The PREP prognosticated a Calderon victory by 260 thousand, while the final final official tally was of 243 thousand more votes for him). For details on the PREP (if you can understand Spanish, see this:

One of Lopez Obrador’s claims is that the PREP data was broadcast in a specific order that induced a gradual growth in his narrow margin. The PREP data did show Calderon in the lead by an always increasing margin, is this a statitistical impossibility?

Another of Lopez Obrador’s claims is that it is statistically impossible for the other candidate’s data to remain unchanged despite adjustments in the number of votes tallied and accorded to him and Calderon.

So much for the PREP, we should remember its not the source of any official results, just an early returns program applied in cases where the difference between votes garnered exceeds the system’s margin of error, this was not the case this time so the PREP’s application is irrelevant. Ugalde did announce the results were too close to provide an official winner at 8 and 11 after the polling stations closed. Wrongdoing here would make sense only if the official results were also manipulated.

IFE automatically undertook the official tally after the PREP closed. Those tallies took 30 continuous hours. In this process the records from each polling station were added up, unless there were irregularities. Lopez Obrador challenged the records from most of the polling stations where Calderon prevailed. This resulted in Lopez Obrador having the lead at the outset and his lead gradually reducing as disputed records from places where Calderon prevailed were reviewed and eventually confirmed.

The “missing votes” were found (safely set aside for closer scrutiny), of these about 900 thousand were found to be invalid for a number of reasons, the remainder could be tallied and reduced the difference, though not by enough to put Lopez Obrador ahead.

These elections were not rigged, Calderon won by a narrow margin, the PREP was quite accurate, challenges to the election must be premised on specific factual allegations. Many of these were aired in the official count.

Lopez Obrador acts wrongfully and this was evident from the outset. His first challenge claimed there were 3 million votes “missing”, not included in the tally which favoured him. This was never the case and he knew it when he spoke. He was briefed on the PREP system by the PRD representatives at the IFE. He was fully aware of the arrangement irregular ballots would be set aside for the official count and not entered in the PREP. This was something all parties sensibly arranged. Those votes which had no choices marked, the unsigned records, duplicated ones, ones from polling stations which had never officially opened, records which were torned, marked over, torn, broken, unsealed, which did not match or include all their documentation or which offered any evidence of tampering –had to be set aside for closer scrutiny as Lopez Obrador’s PRD (PAN and PRI with the rest of the registered parties had stipulated in February).