Sunday, August 06, 2006

CIASP Diary: Revised reunion pictures

CIASP Diary: Revised reunion pictures

Tribunal Decision about Mexican Vote Recount

The seven magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal unanimously agreed to reject a total recount of the ballots cast in the July 2nd presidential election.

However, the Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación (TEPJF) also ordered a recount of 9.07% of the voting stations. This represents 11,839 voting stations in 149 districts (out of 300). The majority of these districts are located in States and regions where the PAN candidate, Felipe Calderón, won by an abnormally large number of votes. (Aguascalientes, Colima, Baja California are States with the largest number of recount districts).

This decision to recount only 9.07% of the voting districts has been strongly criticized by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and was called a "weak-kneed" decision. His party (PRD) and the Coalition for the Good of Everyone will continue their massive sit-in in Mexico City. This "megaplanón" has disrupted the capital by blocking main streets and business areas over the past 9 days. Angry crowds outside of the TEPJF chambers denounced the decision of the tribunal.

However, this massive sit-in and daily gatherings in the Zocalo has been surprisingly peaceful in spite of the great chaos and disruption it has created. In fact, the attorney-general has noted there has been a significant drop in crime during the past week.

The tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) demonstrators have been camping out in the Zocalo and in 17 strategic locations throughout the city. In the middle of the week the protestors held their positions in spite of a torrential storm that dumped orange-sized hail and flooded most of the downtown area.

The intellectual community in Mexico is divided over this ruling, but the majority of them are critical of the Tribunal for "taking half-measures" to resolve the impasse. On the other hand, the majority of intellectuals also seem to be surprised that the tribunal ordered a recount of 11,839 polling stations. There is a begrudging respect that the Tribunal took this unprecedented step...but a fear that this decision is not enough to stem the tide of anger.