Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Does AMLO Have a Case?

I've been on AMLO's case for being so quick to cry 'foul' after what appears to have been a mostly-clean election. And while I still think he's a demagogue, and expect that Calderon will be elected, it's starting to look a lot closer than it seemed 24 hours ago.

First off, as I covered yesterday, AMLO arrogantly declared that there were 3 million missing votes - which had been cast for other offices but not counted for President. IFE today clarified that there were indeed 2.5 million ballots which were left out of the current, preliminary count due to minor inconsistencies. As the parties agreed to beforehand, these ballots will be included in the official tally once they undergo a pro-forma (apparently) review by party officials. These ballots will have the effect of shaving Calderon's margin to about 257,000 (source is in Spanish). Second, there remain 2,017 'precincts' to be counted, with an anticipated total of about 1.5 million votes (mentioned in the same linked article).

This could make things very interesting, particularly since there are accounts of election materials being found in garbage dumps outside Mexico City, and AMLO is specifically mentioning the possibility of 'peaceful protest marches' if he doesn't get the recount he wants.

Also, let me again include here El Universal's calculation of what the new Mexican legislature will look like, once seats are added according to proportional representation. The third and fourth screens show the totals for the House and Senate, respectively. As I suggested earlier, the PAN will have a plurality - but fall short of a majority - in both. Shockingly, the PRI is in third in both (although in parity with the PRD in the Senate).

Assuming Calderon wins, we'll see if this situation leads to more 'normal' legislating in Mexico. When Fox was elected, he was not loved by PAN legislators because he had sort-of 'parachuted in' to the party nomination from the outside. As for the PRI, they thought his election was a one-time blip in their history of one-party rule, and they largely marched in lockstep against anything he proposed.

Now the PRI looks like a rump party, and Calderon's promise to include members of the opposition in his government could weaken them further. Also, the opposition (PRD, PRI, and other) may recognize that one-party rule is over, and they might have to work with the President. Lastly, Calderon rose through the ranks of the PAN, so his party colleagues might have more invested in his success than they did in that of Fox.

Change is certainly in the air.

Update: El Universal reports here that the remaining uncounted ballots - which are from 2,017 polling stations - contain at least 450,000 votes. As noted above, the guess is that there might be about 1.5 million remaining.

Also, continue to read Mark in Mexico for excellent coverage in general, and a good fisking of a misleading report from the LATimes.

Update 2: The newspaper Reforma (in Spanish, subscription required) estimates that there are about 700,000 votes yet to be counted, and calculates that AMLO would need to win about 78 percent of them to catch Calderon. However, given how AMLO has performed to date in the localities yet uncounted, he is expected to win only about 32 percent of the remaining votes:

Si la tasa de participación y las tendencias de votación se mantienen como hasta ahora, restarían alrededor de 700 mil votos por contabilizar.

Para que López Obrador pudiera revertir la distancia que le lleva Calderón tendría que obtener el 78 por ciento de los votos en las casillas que aún no se contabilizan.

Sin embargo, considerando las tendencias de la votación que ha tenido el López Obrador en las entidades en las que todavía hay actas por contabilizarse, es de esperarse que el porcentaje que obtenga en los votos restantes sea del 32 por ciento.

Update 3: The count by the 300 district committees is half-complete, and AMLO leads Calderon by 37.15% to 34.39%. By all accounts, this is nothing but a statistical oddity, and Calderon should more than overcome the deficit as the review is completed. A PAN official explains to the newspaper Reforma that of the 10 states that have reported to date, 8 are AMLO strongholds in the South, so it's not surprising that AMLO has a small lead, and it's entirely consistent with the preliminary count:

Ciudad de México (5 julio 2006).- El representante del Partido Acción Nacional ante el IFE, Germán Martínez, aseguró que los informes del conteo de los Consejos Distritales hasta el momento coinciden con los resultados que desde el domingo dio a conocer el PREP y que su partido se encuentra tranquilo.

"Estamos esperando a que terminen los cómputos para que se ratifique la victoria de Calderón".

Martínez aseguró que los estados más avanzados en el conteo son perredistas, por lo que es lógica la aparente ventaja de López Obrador.

"Queremos decir que es explicable que a esta hora haya una ligera ventaja del candidato de la coalición del PRD.

"Los estados que se registraron, de los 10 más avanzados, 8 los ha ganado el PRD, como Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Edomex y Guerrero, y de los de menos avance, Baja California, Durango, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Guanajuato y Yucatán son ganados por el PAN", aseguró

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