Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mexican court rejects leftist bid to void July 1 presidential election; end of the road for PRD, Manuel López Obrador

It's official: Enrique Peña Nieto was the winner, and will be Mexico's next president

Mexico City
By a unanimous vote, Mexico's highest election arbiter - the Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federation (TEPJF) - tonight rebuffed an effort by defeated candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) to void the July 1 results and hold a new election.

At the end of an extraordinary four hour session broadcast on live TV, the court's ruling was 7-0.

Outside the tribunal's heavily guarded chamber, under the close watch of state and federal police, several hundred protesters demonstrated and loudly voiced their disagreement with the widely expected decision. There were no injuries and no arrests.

The court found insufficient evidence to sustain any of the nine legal arguments made by López Obrador and PRD representatives, and said that the "will of the people" was manifested in voters' clear preference for PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. One of the TEPJF magistrates, referring to a 19th century constitutional law case, quoted a Mexican judge of the time: "Above the law - nothing. Above the law - no one."

The day after the election, López Obrador called the whole process "very dirty, a national shame," and promised that he would challenge the results. Although he was thin on specifics at the time, López Obrador later complained of "media distortion" by the favoritism supposedly shown to Enrique Peña Nieto, especially by the electronic media. That topic surfaced in a big way in the closing days of the campaign. U.K.'s The Guardian reveals Televisa-EPN deal; U.S. diplomats troubled by Televisa-Peña Nieto links in 2009, charges The Guardian.

When asked by a reporter if he had evidence of "actual fraud," López Obrador said at least five million PRI votes had been bought, two million or more in the states of México, Veracruz and Chiapas. The daunting evidentiary challenges appeared not to trouble the candidate, who said that he was fighting for the "moral rebirth of Mexico.". He charged that those who voted for Peña Nieto did so "to maintain the (PRI) regime of corruption," and added, "we can't accept fraudulent results."

López Obrador tried everything in an effort to persuade the electoral court judges, even hauling farm animals to Mexico City two weeks ago (evidence of bought votes, he claimed), all to much media fan fare. And last week PRD warned of a "social explosion" if the TEPJF ruled against them. In the end, none of it made any difference.

In a curious twist, the leftist candidate targeted Mexico's largest retailer, Soriana, during the post-election squabbling. Like supermarkets everywhere, the store encourages its customers to carry a free shopper's card. Every time a purchase is made the customer earns points which can be saved or used to reduce the bill at check out. López Obrador claimed that PRI bought the election by passing out tens of thousands of Soriana cards carrying prepaid credits, allegedly ranging from 100 to 1,000 pesos ($7.50-$75.00 US). PRI flatly denied the claim, which the Washington Post referred to in July as "Soriana-gate" (Rising protests against Enrique Peña Nieto, amid charges of "Soriana-gate").

On July 30 a Soriana self-service outlet in Monterrey was fire-bombed with a Molotov cocktail, and a week later a human head was found in an ice chest in a store parking lot in Chihuahua. Corporate management complained that Soriana had experienced nearly 200 security incidents, and lashed out at López Obrador, accusing him of inciting violence against the giant grocery chain. Many Mexicans wondered if the acts were the brainchild of PRD operatives, or of some who have called for violence to stop Peña Nieto from being sworn in on Dec. 1. YoSoy 132 discusses civil disobedience to stop Enrique Peña Nieto from taking office.

Although tonight's ruling by the TEPJF officially brings to a close PRD's legal challenge to the July 1 election results, López Obrador has promised take his case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights if the ruling went against his party. But it would be unprecedented for that court to accept such a case, and even if did, any decision would be purely advisory, and neither binding on nor enforceable against Mexico.

López Obrador has called a press conference for Friday morning (Aug. 30).

Oct. 3 - Let's hope that López Obrador is out of the house today and paying no attention to the news. Mexico's Federal Election Commission, the IFE, today announced that six years after the fact, the physical ballots from the country's hotly disputed 2006 presidential election will finally be destroyed. Felipe Calderón won the contest that year by the closest margin in the nation's history, about one half of one percent. And who was in second place? Manuel López Obrador, of course, who cried foul play for weeks, referred to himself as the "legitimate president of Mexico" and brought a country of 112 million to the brink of a constitutional crisis. AMLO is starting a new leftist political party next month, and he may run again in 2018. Third time's a charm, they say.

Aug. 31 - Manuel López Obrador is still in the ring, and still slugging

July 21 - Mexico facing greater political crisis this year than in 2006, says commentator
July 15 - Spain's El País blasts López Obrador
July 13 - Manuel López Obrador fires in all directions, demanding a new election
July 11 - Memo to Andrés Manuel López Obrador: "¡Ya basta, señor!"
June 16 - Yo NO Soy's "summer of discontent"

Mérida, July 7, 2012 - the IFE is Mexico's federal election commission

Gay marriage is lawful in Mexico City, but this protester merely suggests that the IFE chairman and Enrique Peña Nieto are political sweethearts



  1. Hello, we are reading here that the demonstration against the ruling turned nasty. Any video on that - or is this just hype to make #Yo Soy 132 look bad???

    3rd section down:


    Validan eleccion ganada por Pena Nieto


  2. I'm monitoring the situation right now, but I think the demonstration last night was fairly tame - maybe some pushing and shoving, a few arrests, but nothing more.

    Of course, there are still three full months left before EPN is sworn in on Dec. 1. A lot could happen before then, especially if AMLO announces at his press conference (about nine hours from now) that he's going to keep fighting. Remember, in 2006 he and his supporters declared him the "legitimate president of Mexico" (admittedly, a claim which was much less frivolous then than it would be if made today).

    As for YoSoy - they're done, take out the thermometer. They'll head back to classes and get on with life in 2013. They may have had good intentions at the outset, but they flat out lied about who they were and what they really stood for, and they lost a lot of popular support as a result. They suffered, in a word, from political schizophrenia (read my article linked above, "Yo NO Soy's Summer of Discontent").

    I regret what happened to YoSoy, because EPN was most assuredly not MY cup of tea, and I'm an old protester myself, Class of 1970. But alas, I had to grow up and make a living, like all good leftists.

  3. Ed, you said YoSoy "flat out lied about who they were. . ." I wish you had a link which might help me unpack this statement (which I'm not disputing, but simply trying to grasp). I've mentally imagined YoSoy132 to be an analog of the Occupy Wall Street movement, here in US, having no leadership or agenda — which I gather that YoSoy did develop as a goal, ie: to contest Peña Nieto's favored status in and by the media. ~eric.

  4. Sure I have a link . . . several links, in fact. Read the half dozen or so articles I wrote about YoSoy, including those covering their three marches here in Merida in May and June (each of those articles in turn has its own links, a number of them to Spanish news sources).

    What happened was almost comical. At a rally one Sunday in June, for instance, the local YoSoy leader started the program by reminding all attendees that the movement was strictly non-partisan - they were about the process, in other words, not the candidate. Then there was a long "open-mike" session - two hours or more, literally, where anyone and everyone could speak. Dozens did so, all of them railing against EPN, and not a few urging participants to vote for AMLO.

    The same thing more or less happened at other meetings. Look at the photos I published with my articles - they prove exactly what YoSoy is/was all about. And the same thing happened all over Mexico, as was reported by dozens of press sources for weeks. Local YoSoy leaders refused to meet with me, by the way, to answer questions.

    I agree with your analogy to Occupy Wall Street, to some extent. Were all OWS marchers anti-Republican or pro-Democrat? Probably a lot, but not all, by any means. I think OWS was a much broader, more all-encompassing movement which spoke with many voices. The only thing everybody shared was being "fed up" with a broken political and (arguably) economic system.

    YoSoy was crassly political and crassly partisan from its launch in May. And it still refuses to acknowledge so! As I've written several times before, anybody in this country can advocate anything they want. But when they call for national dissent and the blocking of a democratically elected president from taking office, they become just one thing, according to my poly sci textbook: enemies of freedom.