Thursday, July 20, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to

Certain uncertainty

A purported union official on Wednesday visited with conservative candidate Felipe Calderón´s campaign staff and disputed claims that the presidential election was tainted. However, it turns out the union "leader" doesn´t appear to hold any post. The visit by Gastón Saenz of the Electrical Workers Union (SME) to Calderón´s campaign headquarters was a surprise since his 14,000-worker union staunchly opposes President Vicente Fox´s plans to allow more private investment in the government- run energy sector. Calderón, of the National Action Party (PAN), has promised to continue those efforts. On Wednesday, the union appeared to recognize Calderón as the apparent president-elect. The elections were "carried out democratically, cleanly, with all the political honesty that a democracy requires," said Saenz, presented as a top union adviser, adding that he had forwarded proposals to Calderón. Campaign officials stood by smiling as Saenz described the July 2 vote as clean, honest and democratic. But SME union chief of staff Enrique Bernal later said Saenz was a retired member of the union, and that he currently held no post nor spoke for the group.
(Mexico City Herald, 20 July 2006) Kelly Arthur Garrett, who knows more about Mexican politics than anyone alive, writes in the same paper:
A full recount of every vote cast for president could take as little as six days, leaders of the Andrés Manuel López Obrador campaign said Wednesday. ... "Six days of counting means six years of stability," said Horacio Duarte, the official liaison with the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) from López Obrador´s Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). ...The PRD claims a vote-by-vote recount would give its candidate the victory. But even if it doesn´t, the campaign leaders said Wednesday, a recount would confer legitimacy on the next president otherwise lacking in an election marred by allegations of rampant procedural irregularities. Calderón, however, has steadfastly refused to endorse a recount and has instead assumed the trappings of the president-elect based on his lead in the uncertified vote count. One argument against a full recount has been that it couldn´t be physically carried out in time for the Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF, or Trife) to declare a winner by the September 6 deadline.
With 130,000 actas nationwide, and 20 minutes to count each one gives 43,000 hours. Divided by the 300 national electorial districts gives you 145 hours per district. OK, if you worked around the clock, it's possible. But, I'd say eight to ten days would be more realistic. Even so, that ain't bad, and sure beats six years of uncertainty. The Calderón people, borrowing perhaps from the Bushistas in 2000, are claiming there just isn't time to resolve the election. What's the big hurry? The Electoral Tribunal's self-imposed deadline isn't until September 6. If the vote count starts next week, or even in two weeks... or even three weeks, there's plenty of time to be finished by September. Geeze, it's not like the President of Mexico has the code for launching nukes or anything. And, speaking of uncertainty, those folks who were screaming that the country was going to fall into chaos as a result of the uncertain outcome are... well... wrong, as usual. No violence has been reported from the pro-democracy protests.


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