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A Winner in Mexico

Calderón officially named President

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Mexico's new President Felipe Calderón delivers a speech for supporters
Mexico's new President Felipe Calderón delivers a speech for supporters at the National Action Party headquarters. (Photo: Susana Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images/NewsCom)

By Tiffany Chaparro

September 6, 2006

After two months of uncertainty, Mexico has a new President. On Tuesday, the Federal Electoral Tribunal ruled that Felipe Calderón’s July 2 victory is valid. A second election will not need to be held. Calderón will officially take office on December 1.

Calderón is a member of current President Vicente Fox’s National Action Party. His opponent—Andrés Manuel López Obrador—argued that Calderón had an unfair advantage in the election. Obrador accused President Fox and business leaders in Mexico of spreading negative messages about him during the campaign.

The judges ruled that any violations of Mexico’s electoral law did not affect the voting results enough to hold a second election. The ruling cannot be appealed.

“There are irregularities, some that were not proven, others that were not grave enough to put in doubt the veracity of the election,” said Judge Alfonsina Bertha Navarro.

The tribunal also ordered a recount of about 9 percent of the districts last month because of claims that the votes were not correctly counted. After the recount was completed, the court found more than 150,000 invalid votes.

However, the difference in votes was not big enough to change the final election results. Calderón still won the election by a narrow margin of 233,831 votes, or 0.56 percent of the 41.5 million votes cast.

“There are no perfect elections,” Judge Navarro said.

Reactions to the Vote

Obrador, who is also the former mayor of Mexico City, promised to continue to run mass protests in an attempt to stop Calderón from effectively governing the country.

“I do not recognize someone who tries to act as the chief federal executive without having a legitimate and democratic representation,” Obrador said.

Many of the poor and working class people in Mexico support Obrador’s position. Almost one third of the voting public does not believe that Calderón should be president, according to the New York Times.

Obrador and his followers have threatened to set up an alternative government that would ultimately clash with the current government. This could create political chaos when Calderón takes office December 1.

In an effort to win over some of Obrador’s supporters, Calderón has promised to reduce poverty, fight crime, and improve the economy.

World leaders, including many Central American presidents, congratulated Obrador on his win. The White House said in a statement that Mexico’s electoral institutions have proved “strong and capable of reflecting the will of the people of Mexico.”

Critical Thinking Question

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A Winner in Mexico

Do you think Obrador’s idea of setting up an alternative government is a good solution for the Mexican people? Why or why not?

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