Monday, July 31, 2006

Election Update: Stalemate continues

The PRD protests over the July 2nd Presidential election continued on Sunday with another massive rally in the Zocalo. Some estimates indicated that as many as 2 million people were in the downtown core for this rally.

The PRD and "Coalition for the Good of Everyone" insists that there was fraud and is demanding that the Electoral Tribunal supervise a complete recount of every ballot. The original ballots were placed in sealed transparent boxes, and the computation of the election results was based on a computer tabulation of results from "tally sheets" produced at each poll. The PRD wants the boxes opened, and the ballots hand-counted. There are now two main arguments used by the PRD and Coalition to justify their demands: a) the margin of victory by Felipe Calderón was excessively large (massively beyond the average number of winning votes) in polling stations located in PAN districts (e.g.Guanajuato), and in those districts where there were no PRD observers (only PAN or PRI observers), and b) that elements of the PRI, in particular Esther Elba Gordillo orchestrated a massive vote fraud in favour of the PAN candidate Calderón.

The PRD has organized a series of sit-ins, and promises not to leave until there is a ballot by ballot and poll by poll recount. Meanwhile, Felipe Calderón appeared before the Tribunal (known as TRIFE) to defend the honesty of his campaign.

The following summary "header" appeared in La Jornada today.

Los simpatizantes de Andrés Manuel López Obrador aceptaron la propuesta de instalar 47 campamentos: 31 en el Zócalo, uno por cada estado, y 16 en las principales calles del Centro Histórico y Paseo de la Reforma, hasta que se ordene el recuento del voto por voto, casilla por casilla. ''Yo también viviré -dijo- en este sitio mientras estemos en asamblea permanente. Sé que no es sencillo, pero es lo que sentimos más conveniente para la causa. Tenemos todos las pruebas para sostener que ganamos la Presidencia de la República''
Sympathizers of Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to the proposal to establish 47 sit-in sites: 31 in the Zocalo, one for each State, and 16 in the major streets of the Centro Historico (area surrounding Zocalo) and Paseo de La Reforma (the main street leading from Zocalo to Chapultepec), until there is an order to recount "vote for vote", "polling station by polling station". "I will live here - he said - in this site, meanwhile we are in a permanent assembly. I know that it's not easy, but it's what we think is most effective for the cause. We have all the proof to uphold (our belief) that we won the Presidency of the Republic"

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