August 8, 2006 [LINK]

Showdown heats up in Mexico

It's hard to say how much longer Mexico can endure the tense stalemate over the disputed July 2 election. The Federal Electoral Tribunal ruled that a partial recount should be held, involving 11,839 of the 130,500 polling stations, or about nine percent of all votes that were cast. Losing presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejected that outright, however, insisting on nothing less than a complete recount of every ballot that was cast, reopening all of the sealed ballot boxes. He is really going out on a limb, wagering that he can get enough public opinion on his side to force the authorities to give in to his demands. Doing so would set a dangerous precedent for the credibility of and respect for government insititutions in Mexico. Supporters of AMLO seized control of toll booths on some of the major highways leading into Mexico City, allowing motorists to pass through for free. That probably won't be enough to offset the deep anger they have stirred by shutting the city down for over a week. The final decision on the election results are due no later than September 6. (BBC)

Apparently fearful that he is quickly losing support among educated Mexicans, AMLO invited his opponents to an "assembly" on Sunday, at which he says he will lay out the reasons for leading the campaign of civil resistance. He repeated his claims that the elections were fraudulent. (El Universal)