Saturday, August 05, 2006

A big blow for democracy in Mexico 

In an amazing decision the Mexican electoral court has decided not to re-count the ballots from the July second presidential election that Felipe Calderon is said to have won by just a few hundred thousand votes.

This is a terrible decision. There have been clear cases where the initial vote tallies did not correctly match the actual ballots cast. There was no sytematic and representative audit of the vote tally to see if there were errors or biases in the system. And in a full 20% of voting centers the party that lost, the PRD, did not have any observers making it impossible for them to know for sure there wasn't fraud there.

Based on this decision it appears we will never know for sure if the results are accurate. Felipe Calderon, who didn't have much of a mandate to begin with, now has a victory tainted with doubt to boot. Lopez-Obredor has been leading protests in Mexico City demanding a full recount. Will these protests now exand, turn violent, or simply fade away with time? It's hard to know. But this court sure didn't do Mexican democracy, which has only recently emerged from decades of widely acknowledged vote manipulation, any favors. A lot more construction will have to be done, and maybe even some demolition too, before Mexico can be viewed as a true democracy.

A banner put up by protesters blocking a street in Mexico City this past week.


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