Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Will the LA Times apologize?

An image of election day in Mexico, from the LA Times
Now that the lead in the Mexican election has gone to Obrador, the Los Angeles Times should apologize for the editorial earlier this week that called Obrador "undemocratic" and a "demagogue" for declining to rapidly concede the election. Obrador insisted the count was incorrect and declared himself the true winner. Calderon, his conservative rival, who appeared to hold a slim lead, also declared himself the winner. Despite the narrow margin, the Times declared a mandate for Calderon: "Despite the dashed hopes of the Fox years, it is encouraging that Mexican voters resisted the old-style populism and state interventionism peddled by Lopez Obrador."

With their current story, linked to above, the LA Times continues to insist that Calderon will win the election. You have to read halfway down the article to find this nugget, which confirms Obrador's supposedly demagogic claim of election irregularities: "Workers were not reviewing individual ballots except when the packages appeared tampered with or their tallies were missing, illegible or inconsistent -- including at least 2.6 million ballots likely to shrink Calderon's lead to 0.64 percent if included, election officials said Tuesday."

As of now: With 90.4% of the "official" count in (El Universal), Obrador has a 1.21% lead over Calderon.

On a side note, here is another quote from the LA Times editorial:
The PRI finished a distant third. Its weakness is a triumph for democracy, and its collapse could help consolidate a two-party system in Mexico. On the other hand, if the grouping of three major political forces proves lasting, the country should consider adopting a second round of balloting, to strengthen its presidents' mandate.
Hmmm, instant runoff voting, anyone? You can use it even in countries where there are only two major parties. After all, even the United States' small parties can weaken a president's mandate.

Update: Since posting this earlier tonight, Calderon has steadily picked up votes. Every time El Universal refreshes, Calderon seems to be .02 percent closer. At this rate, he will pass Obrador and win by about .1 percent (current count: Obrador 35.92%, Calderon 35.28%; 94.61% counted).

Update: It's about 12:15 here, and while Obrador continues to hold a slim lead, Calderon is picking up steam as the last precints are recounted. According to El Universal, Obrador has a .34% lead over Calderon with 96.2% reporting. Calderon is on track to win by several tenths of a percent. With such a close vote, a more detailed recount is possible.


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