August 11, 2006

Obrador's case for a recount

I'm back in service today. Wow does moving suck. Anyways, I found this op-ed by Mexican presidential cantidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the New York Times today interesting. In it, he makes the case for a nationwide recount in Mexico. He is also careful to stress his cause as a peaceful and democratic one, like Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr.'s, as opposed to the populist demagogue many have played him as. Part of that demagoguery is his seemingly unfounded claim that the vote was fraudulent despite EU monitors finding no evidence of fraud. Anyways, Obrador doesn't do much for his claim of fraud in the op-ed:

It’s worth reviewing the history of this election. For months, voters were subjected to a campaign of fear. President Vicente Fox, who backed Mr. Calderón, told Mexicans to change the rider, but not the horse — a clear rebuke to the social policies to help the poor and disenfranchised that were at the heart of my campaign. Business groups spent millions of dollars in television and radio advertising that warned of an economic crisis were I to win.It’s my contention that government programs were directed toward key states in the hope of garnering votes for Mr. Calderón. The United Nations Development Program went so far as to warn that such actions could improperly influence voters. Where support for my coalition was strong, applicants for government assistance were reportedly required to surrender their voter registration cards, thereby leaving them disenfranchised.And then came the election. Final pre-election polls showed my coalition in the lead or tied with Mr. Calderón’s National Action Party. I believe that on election day there was direct manipulation of votes and tally sheets. Irregularities were apparent in tens of thousands of tally sheets. Without a crystal-clear recount, Mexico will have a president who lacks the moral authority to govern. [Emphasis added]
Basically, he doesn't seem to have anything but rhetoric behind his argument that the election had any fraud involved. Otherwise, there is no reason that he would bury the only real argument he has at the end of a paragraph that follows inconsequential evidence of Calderon using business interests and international organizations to win over voters. Obrador does little to further his argument in this op-ed. He should just give up, for the stability of the Mexican government.