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Friday, June 29, 2012

Candidates sign civility pact to respect the vote

But some analysts say López Obrador may resort to poll-result delaying tactics he used in 2006, making early results appear that he is ahead, setting the stage for him to cry fraud

Mexico's four presidential candidates on Thursday, at the offices of the Federal Electoral Institute, all signed a civility pact to respect Sunday's vote. It was interesting to watch the candidates greet each other. Insitutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto gave National Action Party candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota the kiss on the cheek men and women in Mexico often greet other with; Vázquez Mota and Democratic Revolution Party candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador merely shook hands.
Update: Telemundo's newscast Friday night noted that the Vázquez Mota-López Obrador merely shook hands because they had earlier greeted each other upon entering the facility.

Analyst Héctor Aguilar Camín, in a column in Milenio, raised the specter that López Obrador may resort on Sunday to the trickery he employed in the 2006 election and try to make early results appear that he is ahead in the vote count. This would set the stage for López Obrador to claim vote fraud once Peña Nieto passed him. Former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda, in an interview with Telemundo, said there were other rumors that López Obrador supporters would try to create chaos in polling stations to create an atmosphere of uncertainty to damage the legitimacy of the election.

In 2006, when official results were being sent to the Federal Electoral Institute for the official vote count three days after the election, López Obrador's forces used tactics to delay the reporting of results in polling districts where National Action Party candidate Felipe Calderón did well so that it long appeared that López Obrador was winning. Calderón never led until very late in the vote count, past many journalists' deadlines. Even some foreign media fell for López Obrador's gambit; some Mexican academics, years after the fact, still were citing the gambit to argue that there was fraud in the election.

Columnist Leo Zuckermann, in writing about these issues, said Friday: "There's one thing you have to give López Obrador credit for: He is a specialist in creating nonexistent realities."

The political and humor columnist Catón wrote Friday that he thought that if Peña Nieto won Sunday, Mexico would suffer short-term problems because of protests against him, but not medium- and long-term problems; he wrote that if López Obrador won, Mexico would not suffer short-term problems but would have problems in the medium and long term.

Story on the civility pact, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Aguilar's column. Zuckermann's column (PDF). Catón's column (PDF).