Americanization of Mexican Elections?

New developments in Mexico’s presidential election, but still no winner declared. On Monday the Federal Election Commission clarified the preliminary count noting that several hundred thousand votes has not been counted toward the totals, although the precincts they came from were listed as counted. This shrank Calderon’s lead to less than one percent and increased the pressure on the recount, which begins today.

American news reports indicated that Lopez Obrador was inclined to–much as Gore and Kerry did–allow the process to take its course. His supporters, on the other hand were mounting a campaign to pressure him to actively pursue the recount. The pre-election negative hype was that Lopez Obrador was a potential dictator who would tell the masses what to do. Now it seems the masses are dictating policy to their leader. This is certainly the crucial difference between US and Mexican political culture. The irony appears to be lost on American journalists who seem to view popular participation as evidence of Mexico’s “young democracy.” Maybe are ossified democracy has something to learn here?

Meanwhile, back at the dump….


Among the alleged irregularities turning up in the news is the story of 10 ballot boxes or precinct reports found in the trash in the state of Mexico. These were from PRD strongholds. The story is in Processo (spanish). More significant (numerically) is the discrpency of some 3 million votes between the number who voted for president and for legislative races.

With the formal Mexican campaign over, the Bush administration has let it be known that they are willing to compromise with House hardliners on an “enforcement first” immigration law. The idea would be, according to the NYT report, that citizenship and guest worker programs would only come into place after some specific “enforcement” goals are met. As predicted, the path toward compromise quickly takes us through the mud. Obviously, this was held back until the end of the election because it would have signaled the total failure of the PAN to effectively push immigration reform with the U.S.

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