Mexican elections: fraud again?

obradorrally520x300

Official results of Sunday's Mexican elections will not be released until July 4, but it appears that the candidate of the formerly dominant Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), former Mexico state governor Enrique Peña Nieto, has won, but not by as much as he hoped.

His handlers had been saying he would win by a margin of two digits, but unofficial results show him with 38 percent of the vote, just 6 percentage points ahead of the 32 percent that went to former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the candidate of the left-wing alliance based on the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD).

Josefina Vazquez Mota, the candidate of current president Felipe Calderon's right-wing National Action Party (PAB), trailed with 25 percent of the vote, and a fourth candidate, Gabriel Quadri of the National Alliance, got a negligible vote, between 2 and 3 percent.

In one piece of good news for the left, the PRD candidate for the mayoralty of Mexico City (technically, for governor of the Federal District which includes the capital), Miguel Angel Mancera, absolutely trounced his PRI, PAN and other rivals with a record 60 percent majority.

Mexico City has been governed by left-wing mayors since the post became elective in 1997, and has come to be seen as an oasis of dropping crime rates and relatively efficient administration in a country wracked by drug violence. Mancera is currently the attorney general of the Federal District.

Overall, it appears the PRI did well in legislative, gubernatorial and local races as well, mostly at the expense of the right-wing PAN, which is blamed by voters for economic stagnation and, above all, the bloodshed of the drug war which has claimed over 55,000 lives in just a few years.

How the new Congress will stack up will not be known precisely until official results are published. Mexico uses a proportional representation system. Of the 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Mexico's Congress, 300 are filled directly on Election Day, and another 200 are assigned to political parties roughly in proportion to the vote they got nationally. In the 160-seat Senate, 128 are elected directly and 32 are assigned by the proportional representation method.

Vazquez and Quadri conceded but Lopez Obrador said in a Monday evening press conference that he was not going to concede until he got some answers about electoral fraud. He made clear that he may well launch a legal challenge about the results. After a squeaker of an election in 2006, in which Lopez Obrador was inched out by Calderon, Lopez Obrador and his followers organized large-scale demonstrations in Mexico City.

A number of cases seeming to prove manipulation of election results by personnel of the Federal Elections Institute (IFE) have been circulating via Facebook and Twitter. These include evident major changes to vote totals from handwritten records of the polling places to the official website of the IFE, sometimes radically increasing the vote for the PRI and sometimes reducing the vote for the PRD. In one case, the 81 votes for the PRI recorded at a polling place turned into 801 votes by the time the information was posted on the IFE website.

There were also numerous allegations of vote-buying by the PRI. In a comic interlude, a crowd of people carried on a demonstration outside the PRI headquarters in Mexico City's Azcapotzalco neighborhood. They were not protesting fraud; they were complaining that the PRI had promised them money in exchange for their votes, but had stiffed them!

But the major fraud was seen as coming in the lead-up to the elections. Mexican law is strict on how electoral campaigns must be run and financed. But by the beginning of the campaign, suspicions began to arise of collusion between the privately owned media, especially two television channels, Televisa and TV Azteca, and the PRI's electoral machinery, specifically that they were deliberately building up Peña Nieto and undermining the opposition in their supposedly objective news coverage. Evidence to support this suspicion came with an exposé by the British newspaper The Guardian that in fact the PRI had, since the last election campaign in 2006, been giving Televisa money in exchange for undermining the candidacy of Lopez Obrador, a direct violation of Mexican election law.

The perception that Peña Nieto was a manufactured candidate being foisted on the Mexican electorate by over-powerful and corrupt media monopolies helped to spark a large scale uprising of youth, who carried out a campaign against Televisa and against Peña Nieto through demonstrations and social media. This "I am number 132" campaign made a palpable difference in the actual election, helping at least to narrow the distance between Peña Nieto and Lopez Obrador.

The angry youth demonstrated against what they consider the manipulated results of the election again on Monday, with more protests planned.

Photo: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential candidate for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) waves at supporters during the closing rally of his campaign at the main Zocalo plaza in Mexico City, June 27. Esteban Felix/AP

 

Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.

Comments

  • Voter fraud would always be a suspicion whenever the win between two parties is narrow, and one of them was tipped to win by a landslide. It can be very hard to prove whether voter fraud had happened, but there exists so many overwhelming evidence that there was something wrong about that election. This is definitely one election that I would regard as a scam. International bodies need to intervene, and find out the truth behind this matter!

    Posted by Jeanette Hayworth, 08/27/2012 5:33am (2 years ago)

  • I am impressed with your article I think is
    the best written from only a few about the
    Electoral Fraud in Mexico's presidencial 2012
    Election.

    Freedom of the Press is the exception
    worldwide. They serve higher interests. Thank you
    for your article Mexican people highly appreciated.
    The real story has not reach the foreign press
    yet with some exceptions.

    The world should
    know the truth. S.O.S. No real democracy in Mexico. The people from different backgrounds are uniting
    we are tire of ignoring the will,rights and needs of the people and only of the nat'l/intern'l/tecnochrat/ neocon/private-corp interest/olligarchy.

    1988. Fraud. real winner: C. Cardenas
    1994: unknown
    2000: Fixed. real winner: unknown (but before clossing the voting polls Fox was announced as president - Former Secretary of the Interior during that year said later it was fixed that the first opposition party (V. Fox) arriI am impressed with your article I think is
    the best written from only a few about the
    Electoral Fraud in Mexico's presidencial 2012
    Election. Freedom of the Press is the exception
    worldwide. They serve higher interests. Thank you
    for your article Mexican people highly appreciated.
    The real story has not reach the foreign press
    yet with some exceptions. The world should
    know the truth. S.O.S. No real democracy in Mexico.ved to power that year)
    2006. Fraud. real winner: López Obrador
    2012. Fraud. real winner: López Obrador

    Posted by mario lewis, 07/20/2012 5:31am (2 years ago)

  • Mexico does not have a democracy, our process is a joke. You can see all the corruption in our country, the majority of Mexicans do not accept Enrique Peña Nieto as our president, that's clear. We are trying to stop this fraud but saddly media is not helping.
    TV monopolios in Mexico are trying to hide what's really happening there.

    Posted by Crysna Gallardo, 07/12/2012 4:51pm (2 years ago)

  • Many evidence of fraud in Mexico's election is all around the internet (videos, testimonies, etc), besides The Guardian evidence of Televisa colussion with PRI party, CNN Mexico's top journalist, Carmen Aristegui, received evidence just yesterday that effectively , PRI party bought votes with grocery market pre-paid cards, which several states governed by PRI conceded millionary contracts to Soriana market chain to provide the same, with the intention of condition poor people to vote por Pena Nieto in exchange.

    This is a clear and cinic fraud and today there were huge marchs of thousands of people in almost all states in the country, not just Mexico city.

    We need help of the international press to spread the word that in Mexico, democracy is a lie, and we say NO to the imposition of an ignorant and corrupt figure as Enrique Pena Nieto, who represents the worst of the practices of the old party (PRI)

    Posted by Hector, 07/08/2012 3:13am (2 years ago)

  • Manuel Lopez Obrador did not concede the last time, and he will undoubtedly do the same this time. The youth are idealistic and this man claims to be also, but his views are not in line with the emerging global unity of nations. And quite possibly like most human beings will eventually disappoint his followers because he is not the messiah that they are hoping for.

    Posted by Karmen Nava, 07/04/2012 5:26am (2 years ago)

  • Please HELP!!

    During electoral process in Mexico, tons of irregularities happened: vote counting mismatch, electronic manipulation of data, burned vote boxes, bought votes, intimidating groups in the vote sites, etc.

    The general sense is that a Fraud was performed and protestants have taken the streets, mainly in Mexico City. However, local media are not broadcasting the real facts currently running throughout Mexico against the electoral Fraud.

    WE NEED INTERNATIONAL PRESS more than ever.

    Thank you

    Posted by Ulises Demeneghi, 07/04/2012 2:21am (2 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments