July 8, 2006: It looks like PAN candidate Felipe Calderon has been elected president. But PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has not conceded defeat. According to the IFE (Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute) Calderon beat Lopez Obrador by 244,000 votes out of 41 million ballots cast. On July 7 100,000 PRD members rallied in Mexico City to support Lopez Obrador's protest. Lopez Obrador is calling for a mass rally on July 16. The PRD is accusing the PAN of "stealing the election" just like the PRI used to do. Well, not quite like the PRI-- Lopez Obrador said that the PAN had "manipulated" the IFE's electronic computer system. The term used by his advocates is "cybernetic election fraud." Interestingly enough, European Union election observers said the Mexican election was largely clean.
In Mexico the popular vote winner is the winner-- there is no electoral college as in the US.
The situation in Mexico could get very ugly. PRD activists are already predicting mass labor strikes and mass street confrontations. American pundits are calling Mexico "one big Florida" (referring to the 200 US presidential election and the Florida recount). Calderon has not yet been officially declared the winner. The vote took place on July 2. A winner must be declared by September 6.
The security forces, including the army, appear to believe that the recent vote was fair, and are not as split, nor are they threatening violence, like many leftist politicians. Foreign election observers declared the vote fair, but in one as close as this, the losers don't feel like they've lost.