Monday, July 3, 2006

Mexico: Media and bloggers have a lot to say in the electoral aftermath

The following are what some of the news outlets have been saying on the Mexican elections:

-Felipe Calderon says “I won the election” and it seems like the English-language media outside of Mexico has agreed with him if you read the rest of the links included this post. (Compare that to the more muted coverage out of Mexico via El Universal). Meanwhile, supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) have yet to give up.

-CNN en Español reports that Felipe Calderon has a 1% lead over AMLO. More specifically, they report that it’s 36.3% for Calderon and 35.3% for AMLO with approximately 98% of ballots counted. (These figures are supported by an article posted by the Associated Press). People interviewed in Mexico City have mixed reactions to the statistical dead heat between Calderon and AMLO with some patient waiting for results while others feel “deceived” by not knowing who the official winner is.

-It has been reported that extreme left candidate Patricia Mercado received between 2% and 3% of the vote and finished in fourth place. Would her votes have gone to AMLO if she were not in the election?

-Though a vast majority of Mexicans living abroad neglected to vote, the small percentage that did may be the deciding factor in this election as nearly 60% of absentee ballots were marked in favor of Calderon.

-Amongst all the talk surrounding Calderon and AMLO has drowned out the other “major candidate”- Roberto Madrazo of the PRI/Partido Verde alliance. Madrazo ended a distant third and, according to the Associated Press showed that the PRI’s “historic defeat six years ago was not a fluke.” Is it any wonder that the president of the PRI rejected data from exit polls as the polls were closing?

-Also lost in the hoopla over the presidential tie is the near equal division of the Mexican congress between the three major parties after yesterdays’ voting. This will certainly cause problems for whoever wins the presidency regardless of their party affiliation.

-Large gains were made by Mexican stocks, bonds, and currency today in the hope that Calderon will be declared the victor. These hopes are also shared by Wall Street movers and shakers.

-The Bush administration has been relatively quiet about publicly discussing the Mexican election except to say that they will wait for official results to be announced.

And what have bloggers been saying about the Mexican election?

-Bloggings by Boz hits on 5 key points to take from the presidential election.

-The comparisons between the goings-on in Mexico to the 2000 U.S. presidential election are mounting. Or for a real curveball, try comparing it to the 1896 U.S. presidential election (not a typo!)-Who will save Mexico from the political chaos that could happen? No not El Chapulín Colorado, but 1988 presidential “winner” Cuauhtémoc Cardenas.

-An inside look at Mexico City on Election Day from an author and a researcher from the U.S.

-The observations of a family voting in Morelia (left image)can be read here. Meanwhile, a blogger in Toluca congratulates the IFE (Mexican electoral board) and quotes author Carlos Fuentes’ observation: “Today the candidates don’t count, it is the voters who count.”

-Mark in Mexico explains the mess in Oaxaca since a teacher’s strike took place before and during the election period. (See “Update II” in his post).

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MSS said...

supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) have yet to give up.

Give up what? There's no result yet.

On the congressional result, it looks from preliminary figures that it is anything but "evenly divided." The PAN may be over 40%, and no other party at even 1/3. That would be much more dominance for the leading party than we've seen under Fox, where the PRI and PAN were close throughout (and the PRI ahead after the PVEM switch and especially after the '03 midterm).

Unlike the USA in either 1876 (not 1896) or 2000, Mexico has a professional electoral dispute-resolution process. It also has the very great advantage of no electoral college, in which a small number of votes in some state controlled by one or the other party can swing the whole outcome. The parallels between this election and the USA are not very enlightening (nor are any parallels to Mexico, 1988).

Anonymous said...

This close election is troubling, with Obrador garnering so many votes. It really does not speak well for the future of Mexico, even if Caldero is the winner.

I suspect we will see massive removal of foreign investors in the Mexican stockmarket and a slide in the Mexican economy, even with the close conservative victory.

However, if Obrador is elected, then looks for a disaster in Mexico.

Erwin C. said...

MSS: I meant to say that supporters of AMLO have yet to give up hope that he could win.

If Calderon does win, he may still have trouble getting his policy passed since no party will have a clear majority in Congress. Even if PAN gets at least 40% in Congress the PRI and PRD will not be too far behind.

The comparisons between Mexico's presidential election in '06 and the 2000 U.S. presidential election are negliglbe dut to the differences in procedure (Electoral college vs. popular vote, etc.). However, the comparison made to the 1896 U.S. presidential election is far more valid since he looks at the social division between voting for Calderon vs. voting for AMLO (rural, not procedure.

Anonymous: Business interests in Mexico and abroad are pro-Calderon and giddy in the prospect of his possible victory so I honestly can't see a "massive removal of foriegn investors" any time soon.

How would an electoral win for AMLO be "a disaster in Mexico"? Would it be political, social, or what exactly?

Thanks for all your comments!

Yakima said...

A few couple of factors will really give steam to AMLO's legal challenge.

El Universal is reporting that 3 MILLION votes were tossed out due to "errors." This sounds extremely high, especially given such a close vote.

Also, there were apparently two vote counts with contradictory results. Under Mexican law, each voter precinct is required to post it's own results at the end of the day, and then pass the ballots on to regional centers where they are mixed together and tallied.

Apparently, when each of the precincts numbers are tallied, AMLO is up my more than half a million votes nationwide. These are the numbers that his campaign is touting.

The regional centers, however, are reporting the numbers that the Enlgish language press has picked up on. With a 400,000 margin in Calderon's favor.

I have a feeling that this will be a long process...

Erwin C. said...

Yakima: Yes AMLO has a strong enough case to contest the election, but in the end what matters is if it is the smart thing to do politically. In other words, would AMLO be better or worse off should he pursue legal recourse.

From what it looks like it will be a long and ugly process, unfotunately.

Anonymous said...

" . . .pursue legal recourse."-- In Mexico?
Get outta here!

MSS said...

AMLO was right about the missing votes, and Calderon's lead was reported on 4 July to have narrowed to 0.6% once those votes were added to the preliminary count.

I do not agree that AMLO would be a disaster. This is much over-played. He would be checked by the poor showing of his party in congress, without realistic means of circumventing those checks.

If Calderon has won, he will be in a far better position than Fox was. Under Fox, the PRI and PAN were always close in seats (with the PRI well ahead after the 2003 midterm). Plus the PRD expected throughout the term that it would win in 2006. In other words, both the PRI and PRD had reason to stymie Fox and wait him out.

Now the PAN will be much stronger than the other two, and the PRI will be looking for enough of a role that it can just survive. The PRD won't be cooperative, but Calderon won't need it to be.

John said...

Thanks for the link! You have a good blog here and what list a interesting books! I'll have to stop by more often...

Erwin C. said...

Thanks to everybody for their comments so far, and let's hope that the next few days and weeks do not turn out to be disastrous for Mexico.