Sunday, August 13, 2006

High Stakes

There is a historic moment in Mexico and Mr. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, taking the opportunity, yet again, to cast Mexico's contested presidential contest in apocryphal terms. Those actually were the words used on Sunday at the latest of his mass rallies.

Since July 2, when the presidential election was held, Mexico has lurched its way through an acrimonious and divisive political crisis. Mr. Lopez Obrador says he is the victim of mass fraud at the ballot box. Mr Lopez Obrador and his supporters want all the votes recounted, not just the sample that has just been looked at again in recent days. Their chant is deafening: "Vote by vote, polling station by polling station."

The central square in Mexico City and the surrounding roads have become a tent city in the past few weeks, crowded with protestors taking their message out on the street.
Banks, government buildings and hotels have all been blockaded - symbols, say those involved, of the institutions that have kept the majority of Mexican people in poverty and out of government. Symbols that Mr Lopez Obrador stands against.
The findings of the partial recount reveal significant irregularities and/or Mr Lopez Obrador closes the gap substantially by a legitimate re-examination of the ballot papers, thus the electoral authorities may yet yield to his demand for a wider recount—possibly even of all 41 million votes. Some have likened this whole experience to Ukraine's Orange Revolution. This may not yet be a revolution, but a struggle is certainly underway. Mexico's future is not yet set in stone.

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