Feature

Where the loser won’t concede defeat.

The week's news at a glance.

Mexico

Will the Mexican presidential election never end? asked Enrique Mendez in Mexico City’s La Jornada. Mexicans voted for a successor to the term-limited President Vicente Fox more than two months ago, on July 2, but we are still waiting for a resolution. Voters turned out to be split almost exactly evenly. The ruling party candidate, right-winger Felipe Calderón, took just a few hundred thousand more votes than left-wing challenger Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who claimed fraud and demanded a full recount. López Obrador rallied tens of thousands of supporters who held daily protests in Mexico City, paralyzing the capital for weeks. Most Mexicans thought that a ruling last week by the Electoral Tribunal would settle the matter. The court denied a recount and unanimously ruled Calderón the winner by less than half a percentage point. Yet López Obrador still refuses to concede. He now says he will hold a convention of his followers to “start building a new republic.” To those who say he is flouting the law, he responds that the Constitution specifically gives the people the right “to alter, modify, or even abolish the government at will.”

The poor are finally exercising their rights, said Rosario Ibarra in Mexico City’s El Universal. The election was stolen from López Obrador because he represents the indigenous, the downtrodden, the farmers and factory workers. The ruling for Calderón reeks of “the stench of corruption.” We cannot let it stand. How can a court justly rule against a recount? In a democracy, shouldn’t every vote, every voice count? “With us is the history of thousands of battles against injustice; with us are the dreams of freedom and of peace, of living with dignity, of a bountiful homeland with equality for all.”

López Obrador’s defiance is both unjust and dangerous, said José Carreño Carlón in Mexico City’s La Cronica de Hoy. His effort to form a parallel government represents “disrespect for the rule of law.” Some of his supporters claim, preposterously, that the Electoral Tribunal ruling was not an independent judicial decision but rather was dictated by President Fox. That they have “no evidence whatsoever” to back up this allegation seems to trouble them little. The whole situation is an embarrassment for Mexico. A Financial Times writer recently used this country as his top example of a global trend toward the rejection of democratic values.

Julio Hernández Lopez

La Jornada

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