July 10, 2012
(LAS CRUCES, NM) – A little more than a week after Mexicans went to the polls, conflict and controversy swirl around the July 1 elections. Almost everywhere-in the halls of Congress, on the Sunday talk shows, in bars and cafes and on the streets-the results are the hot topic of conversation. And claiming fraud, a growing citizen’s movement is crossing borders and transforming the elections into an international issue.
The so-called Mexican Spring has now transitioned into the Hot Summer of 2012.
“We’re protesting how the new president of Mexico has been imposed upon us,” said a woman who would identify herself only as Michele at a weekend protest in the international resort city of Puerto Vallarta. “They are buying votes and not respecting the votes of the people.”
The young protester held a placard written in English that appealed for international solidarity.
On Sunday, July 8, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), released a final vote count in the presidential election that gave Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party/Green Party Alliance (PRI-PVEM) the big prize with 38.21 percent of the votes, followed by the Progressive Movement’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with nearly 31.60 percent of the ballots.
Josefina Vazquez Mota of President Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN) scored 25.41 percent of the votes, while the National Alliance Party’s Gabriel Quadri trailed a distant fourth with 2.29 percent, according to the IFE. The federal electoral authority stressed that more than 50 percent of the votes had been recounted.
Of the 46,878,451 votes that were officially cast, more than 1,260,000 were tossed out because the ballots were marked for unregistered candidates or declared void due to error or intentional mutilating by voters protesting the political system.
The IFE reassured the nation: “To give an idea of the speed, transparency and efficiency of the counts, it’s precise to point out the magnitude of the work in which thousands of citizens participate including election councilors, members of the Professional Electoral Service, representatives of political parties, electoral observers and the media.”
But in a preliminary report, the respected elections observation organization Civic Alliance charged that vote-buying, intimidation and infringements on the right to secret voting undermined the July 1 elections.
“Political campaign money is determinant in the election results,” the group declared. Civic Alliance deployed 500 observers in 21 states but did not witness the voting in 10 other entities, including regions where so-called narco-violence and violence against candidates and political parties was a constant during the election campaign, because of fear for the safety of observers.
Another independent group, contamos.org.mx, maintains a website with numerous reports of vote-buying, ballot stealing, irregularities in the operation of voting booths and other serious problems.
Based on accusations of vote-buying, the alleged payment to the PRI of foreign money via a Banamex (Citibank) account and other illegalities, Lopez Obrador is expected to make an important statement July 12 detailing how he will seek to have the presidential contest declared null and void in the election court system.
“IFE did not do its job of cleaning up the results,” Lopez Obrador said of the partial recount at a July 9 press conference. “We can’t accept the results. We have proof that we can’t go along with these results.”
The two-time presidential candidate charged that the PRI bought five million votes for Pena Nieto.