Mexican leftist remains defiant after court ruling

Despite evidence of electoral fraud, Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal declared Felipe Calderon, candidate of the National Action Party (PAN), president of Mexico on Sept. 5.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential candidate for the left-wing Coalition for the Good of All, immediately declared he will not recognize Calderon as president and that his coalition will continue its campaign of peaceful civil resistance.

“The tribunal declares Felipe Calderon as president from the period of Dec. 1, 2006, to Nov. 30, 2012,” said the tribunal’s president, Leonel Castillo. The tribunal’s seven judges said the voting irregularities that came to their attention, based on a limited recount of 9 percent of the vote, were insufficient to sustain Lopez Obrador’s charges that Calderon’s win was fraudulent.

Calderon’s margin of victory over Lopez Obrador was 233,381 votes. There were more than 41 million votes cast.

The Coalition for the Good of All condemned the decision. Lopez Obrador told his followers in Mexico City’s central square that “the judges opted to ratify electoral fraud,” that Calderon should not be recognized as president, and that mass, peaceful civil resistance should continue.

Lopez Obrador said he would like to set up a parallel government, pending approval by a people’s convention. “I reiterate my proposal that the Democratic National Convention constitutes a government that counts with the necessary legitimacy to re-found the republic and re-establish constitutional order,” he said. The coalition plans to hold the convention in the central square, the Zocalo, on Sept. 16 to decide the direction that the country will take and “to achieve a transformation of the republic’s institutions,” he said.

Calderon, the candidate supported by the Bush administration, welcomed the tribunal’s ruling. He is to take office Dec. 1.

According to Lopez Obrador’s supporters, the July 2 elections were marked by widespread fraud and irregularities, including the disappearance of about 1 million votes. Formal charges of vote-rigging and other election law violations were leveled by his leftist coalition, various international observers and regional election officials. A group of Mexican computer scientists charged there was also substantial evidence of electronic manipulation of the vote tally.

In the meantime, PAN is reportedly considering asking the Federal Electoral Institute — the election commission dominated by PAN and the Institutional Revolutionary Party — to de-register the left-wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

The PRD, the second largest party in the Camara of Deputies and the Senate, is the largest political force in the Coalition for the Good of All, and the party to which Lopez Obrador belongs. If a party loses its IFE registration, it cannot participate in elections nor have elected officials in parliamentary bodies.