Revolution #59, September 3, 2006
Mexico: Election Upheaval and Brewing Storms
This article was submitted by a reader
On July 2 the Mexican presidential election was held, but there is still no declared winner. There have been massive mobilizations, and to this day there are encampments blocking the Historic Center of Mexico City by the supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), candidate for the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), while the institutions responsible for determining the official results of the election have gone through the motions of deliberating on challenges by the PRD to the vote count that gave the victory to Felipe Calderón, candidate for the National Action Party (PAN).
The Federal Election Tribunal will soon make its final ruling regarding the winner of the presidential election. A partial recount of 9% of the precincts ended on August 12 and uncovered widespread irregularities. Based on this recount, 49,000 votes that were not previously tallied were discovered along with 82,000 votes that were lost. Yet and still it appears that the intention of the tribunal is to install Felipe Calderon as president instead of carrying out a full vote recount to determine the elected winner as demanded by AMLO and his supporters. The federal tribunal will make its final ruling by September 6, and whichever way the court decides is fraught with problems for the ruling class of Mexico.
AMLO has called for his supporters to prevent Calderon from assuming power and to protest all over the country. The political crisis which has developed in the wake of these elections grows more intense daily, with each side refusing to back down. As we have covered previously in Revolution (see “Aftermath of Election: Turmoil and Upheaval in Mexico,” issue #56, online at revcom.us), hundreds of thousands—and even millions—of people have stepped into political life and struggle around this election, and this situation holds within it the potential for the masses to boldly take independent historical action and advance the struggle of the people.
On August 13, the Fox government sent the Federal Preventive Police, together with the Presidential Guard and the army, to attack senators, legislators, and their supporters from the PRD when they attempted to set up a protest encampment at the doors of the Chamber of Deputies. Fifteen senators and legislators were beaten, ribs were broken, heads were gashed. Then tanks were stationed in front of the Chamber of Deputies, and there were rumors that the blockade of the Historic Center of Mexico City would be attacked.
The federal government has since issued a statement that it has no plans to evict the encampment by force. AMLO has called for actions inside and outside the Chamber of Deputies to disrupt Fox’s last Presidential Report to be given to Congress on September 1. He has also called for a major rally at the same time as the Independence Day gatherings on September 15 and 16. It is traditional for people to pack the main plaza in Mexico City—the Zócalo—and the President appears on the balcony of the Palacio Nacional and re-enacts the Grito de Independencia (Shout for Independence) which signaled the beginning of the war for independence from Spain.
In response to the plan for another protest during the traditional military parade on September 16, the General of the Mexico City division of the Armed Forces, Luís Garfias Magaña, stated: “It is very serious that in these moments in the life of the nation, someone who aspires to govern Mexico would insult the army, because the armed forces are the pillar that holds up the nation. Like it or not, this is what holds up the country and the government!” In other words, on the same day the tanks were stationed in front of the Chamber of Deputies, the Armed Forces reminded AMLO, and the masses who were in the streets supporting him, that the real power in society rests with the armed forces and the class to whom they are responsible.
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