On Aug. 5 the seven judges of Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Branch of the Federation (TEPJF) unanimously rejected a motion by center-left presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for a full recount of the 41 million ballots cast in the July 2 presidential election. Instead, the TEPJF ordered inspection of ballots from 11,839 voting booths, about 9% of the total of 130,477 booths. The judges ruled that in these cases there were enough mathematical errors or other irregularities to cause concern.
Many of the votes to be examined came from the states of Jalisco and Aguascalientes, both governed by the center-right National Action Party (PAN), whose candidate, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, won the election by 0.58% in the official count. In Jalisco the number of voting booths the TEPJF questioned is 2,705; Jalisco governor Francisco Ramirez Acuna was one of Calderon’s earliest supporters.
In a rally in Mexico City’s giant Zocalo plaza the evening of Aug. 5, Lopez Obrador’s supporters pledged to continue “civil resistance” until the TEPJF orders a full recount. “If there’s no solution, there’ll be revolution!” they chanted. Protesters have been encamped in the Zocalo and 47 other points in the capital, snarling traffic and disrupting business, since Lopez Obrador called for “permanent” protests at a massive demonstration of as many as 2.4 million on July 30. (La Jornada, Aug. 6)
Meanwhile, more protests are planned for Aug. 7 in Oaxaca, capital of the southern state of Oaxaca, to push for the removal of Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), composed of some 80,000 education workers on strike since May 22 and various grassroots and leftist organizations, plans to make the state “ungovernable,” according to coordinating committee member Rogelio Pensamiento Mesinas, by blocking highways and access to the facilities of transnational companies. Pensamiento Mesinas stressed that the protesters would avoid vandalism and looting. Another coordinating committee member, Flavio Sosa, said the APPO was guaranteeing that local businesses in the Historic Center, a popular tourist attraction, wouldn’t be harmed. (LJ, Aug. 6)
On Aug. 1 some 500 women beating pots and pans blocked access to the studios of Canal 9, a state-owned television station on the outskirts of Oaxaca city, to demand that the station broadcast a message calling for Gov. Ruiz’s resignation. The protesters charged that Ruiz, of the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), had won the 2004 gubernatorial election through fraud. (El Nuevo Herald, Miami, website Aug. 1 from AP)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Aug. 6