The Federal Electoral Institute’s refusal to allow access to ballots from the contested presidential election taints the country’s march toward democracy.
By Irma Sandoval and John M. Ackerman
September 22, 2006
MEXICO now has two presidents-elect. One officially recognized by the electoral authorities — Felipe Calderon — and the other proclaimed the “legitimate president” by millions of followers — Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. There is one way to settle this crisis. As in the aftermath of Bush vs. Gore in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, a group of Mexico’s newspapers should be allowed to conduct their own canvass of the ballots.
Unfortunately, the Federal Electoral Institute, which organizes the presidential elections, has announced that it will not open up the ballots to public scrutiny. The institute appears bent on repeating the government’s performance after the 1988 presidential election, in which the computers “malfunctioned.” It is widely believed that massive fraud allowed Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to mysteriously overcome the early lead of the leftist candidate, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas. To cover its tracks, the government then quickly burned the evidence.