Ahead of Mexico vote, fears and warnings over possible fraud
MEXICO CITY- The specter of possible hoax rears its chief in Mexico each electoral campaign, both in the popular imagination and among candidates on the ballot. This time has been no exception.
With leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holding a wide lead in most polls, his allies are cautioning even before Sunday’s presidential election that there better not be any funny business.
“They shouldn’t dare commit a fraud, because if they do they will fulfill the demon, ” Yeidckol Polevnsky, president of the candidate’s Morena party, said this week. “We will not accept it.”
This is Lopez Obrador’s third try for the nation’s top office, and he alleged hoax twice before after losses in 2006 and 2012. After his first race, which was decided by only 0.56 percentage and went to conservative Felipe Calderon, Lopez Obrador’s advocates mounted a demonstration camp that snarled traffic and hurt business for months along a 3-mile( 5-kilometer) stretching of street in the heart of the capital.
This time around some supporters again fear that dirty tricks could be employed to keep him from office, even as authorities and outside commentators say the possible is remote.
“The chances of not winning exist because of the system that has in place for years, ” mentioned Antonio Lopez, a street vendor in Mexico City and Lopez Obrador supporter.
Such panics have a basis in history. For the majority of members of the 20 th century, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, dominated virtually all aspects of politics and comprised the presidency uninterruptedly for seven decades until 2000, and then regained it in 2012.
Dead people voting, vote-buying, steal or burning of ballots, threats of violence, rigged counting, particularly in remote areas — over the years it’s all been seen.
In 1998 opponent nominee Cuauhtemoc Cardenas had a narrow lead-in in early returns when the system for tabulating polls was said to have “collapsed, ” purportedly due to failing of phone lines which were used to report the count. After it came back online, national elections went to ruling party candidate Carlos Salinas.
For many, the moment exemplified the lengths to which the PRI would go to keep itself in power.
Since that time Mexico’s voting technology has improved, an electoral torso independent of the executive branch has been created and results are no longer delivered by phone. Even though Morena was founded simply four years earlier, today it has a nationwide reaching that will enable it to have commentators on hand at nearly all the country’s election centres to watch for any shenanigans Sunday.
“Electoral fraud is impossible. Not simply because we do not wishes to attain hoax, but because all the stages, activities and operations are subject to the law and vigilance of the parties and their fellow citizens, ” said Jaime Rivera of the National Electoral Institute.
Rivera said even if there were to be a computer hack, the unity of the vote is backed by a paper trail supervise by election workers and trade party monitors.
That’s not to say there haven’t already been reports of suspicious activity.
In recent weeks, officials confirmed armed assaults to steal ballots in three southern states, while a alliance of non-governmental groups monitoring the campaign mentioned vote-buying strategies and threats to cut off social programs have targeted entire communities.
The groups told all the political parties have been guilty, but that most of the activity was on behalf of the PRI. On Tuesday, police in Mexico City seized the equivalent about$ 1 million in pesos from two men who were allegedly delivering the money to PRI headquarters and were unable to explain its origin.
Eduardo Bueno, a political scientist at the Iberoamerican University in the capital, mentioned electoral hoax has been “a constant” in Mexico’s political history and that “modern fraud in the two countries is a creation of the PRI” to maintain itself in power.
The Electoral Institute’s Rivera acknowledged that historically there has been scam in the two countries, but told occurrences have decreased and even become virtually impossible at the national level.
“This legend — which tends to have some truth, even if it’s from the past — cyclically feeds on the disagreements of political parties when they lose, ” Rivera said.
“The parties are not in the habit of recognizing their defeat, ” he added. “It is one of the imperfections of Mexican democracy.”