HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mexico court will name Calderon president: sources

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's electoral court will name ruling party conservative Felipe Calderon president-elect on Tuesday, rejecting claims the fiercely disputed July 2 vote was unfair, sources said.

Losing left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has alleged widespread vote-rigging, but the seven electoral court judges tossed out his fraud claims last week and they are to deliver their final ruling on Tuesday.

Sources close to the court said on Monday the magistrates would declare the election process was clean, give a final vote count and confirm Calderon's razor-thin victory.

"Everything appears to indicate the vote will be unanimous," one of the sources told Reuters.

The election campaign and the fraud claims have split Mexico and posed a serious challenge to its young democracy just six years after President Vicente Fox's historic victory ended seven decades of one-party rule.

Lopez Obrador, whose supporters have crippled central Mexico City with protests for the last month, says he will never recognize Calderon's victory and will set up a parallel government to overhaul Mexico.

The leftist plans a massive rally in the city's vast Zocalo square on September 16, Mexico's independence day, to set up the government.

Mexico's army parades in the Zocalo every independence day and some fear a possible clash with Lopez Obrador's followers.

Fox tried to calm the waters on Monday. "Democracy means that the army should never, ever be used against the people," he said at a military ceremony in the capital.


Lopez Obrador's leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, says Fox is a traitor to democracy and broke the law by backing Calderon's campaign with public funds. They also claim business leaders violated campaign finance rules in support of the conservative candidate.

If electoral court judges accepted those arguments, they could annul the election and call a new vote, meaning Congress would have to pick an interim president.

But even Lopez Obrador's team expects to lose the long court battle on Tuesday.

"It's a done deal. There is no surprise that tomorrow they will formalize the imposition of the man who did not win the presidency," said PRD spokesman Gerardo Fernandez, adding the judges were serving the interests of Mexico's political right.

The original election result gave Calderon a wafer-thin victory of around 244,000 votes, or 0.58 percentage points.

Calderon's win is good news for the United States after years of a left-wing advances in Latin America. The Harvard-educated conservative plans to pass pro-business reforms and be a steady Washington ally in the region.

His first challenge, however, will be to survive Lopez Obrador's protests and win over the 30 percent or more of Mexicans who still believe he stole the election.

"We are going for deep change, root change, because that is what Mexico needs," Lopez Obrador said at a rally on Sunday.

He also warned military chiefs not to move against his supporters, reminding them that a massacre of students in Mexico City in 1968 did great damage to the army's reputation.

"They must not fall into the temptation of obeying orders to repress the people. When they have done it in other sad times, in dark periods, the army has been discredited."

His street protests have lost steam recently, although the PRD could still make life difficult by blocking highways and using its position as the No. 2 party in Congress to block Calderon's planned economic reforms.

PRD lawmakers prevented Fox from delivering his last annual state of the nation speech to Congress on Friday by seizing control of the podium and refusing to give way.

Fox was forced to return to his residence but later delivered the speech in a national televised address.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org