By Freedom Newspapers
If Mexico’s presidential election were held today, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador probably would win by a large margin. Many people within Mexico, including former supporters and members of his Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), have grown tired of his continued antics since he came within one percentage point of winning the July 2 election.
Nearly six weeks later, Lopez Obrador is still inciting his leftist followers to blockade streets and bridges, and demonstrate to press his demand for a total vote-by-vote recount of the election results. They have set up squatters’ tents in the middle of Mexico City’s busiest street, and on Tuesday commandeered at highway tollbooths.
President Vicente Fox has shown restraint so far, letting local officials handle disruptions and demonstrations case by case. The latest stunt, however, led him to threaten the use of federal force to stop further disruptions.
The Federal Electoral Tribunal has rejected the demand for a total recount, rightly asserting that Mexican law does not provide for such a large and costly undertaking. The law, understandably, calls for recounts in specific cases where valid questions arise regarding the voting process. Under this criterion, the tribunal will recount about 9 percent of the 130,000 ballot boxes used on July 2. The recount begins this week, and the office has until Sept. 6 to announce the final results.
A preliminary recount conducted a week after the vote actually widened the lead that apparent winner Felipe Calderon had over Lopez Obrador.
The process that the electoral office has undertaken seems reasonable. There seems no reason to reopen ballot boxes where there is no evidence of any wrongdoing; to do so would be an unnecessary and costly fishing expedition.
Many observers, both from within Mexico and other countries, were on hand on election day, and have all reported that the vote was open, fair and transparent. That’s as much as can be asked of the government.
And if they validate Calderon’s victory, as most people assume they will, it appears likely that Lopez Obrador will reject that conclusion, given his actions of recent weeks.
Lopez Obrador continues to rally people on the street, even as other PRD party members have started distancing themselves from their candidate. The coalition the party formed with the Labor and Convergence parties won 160 of the 500 congressional seats, the second highest number of any group, and will wield significant political strength.
Rather than alienate his allies, Lopez Obrador should turn to them to initiate any changes that might be warranted in Mexico’s electoral system, such as review the possibility of holding a runoff if no candidate wins an outright majority, as was the case this year. Using Mexico’s laws, rather than defying them, would not only help move the country forward, but it would also show that Lopez Obrador has Mexico’s interests at heart, rather than his own.
Lopez Obrador needs to give up the fight and start working for a better future for everybody. His current narcissistic campaign, and willingness to disrupt Mexico’s government and the lives of his fellow citizens, only inspires the feeling that those who voted against him made the best choice for Mexico.