Mexico 101

By By Ana Breton and By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

With the Sept. 16 Mexican Independence Day around the corner, the Hinckley Institute of Politics hosted a forum aimed at explaining and clarifying the current election crisis in Mexico.

On July 2, more than 40 million Mexican citizens cast their votes for their future president, who will serve for the next six years.

Four days later, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), the independent agency in charge of elections in Mexico, pronounced the conservative candidate, Felipe Caldern of the National Action Party (PAN), president-elect.

Controversy kicked in when Caldern’s main rival, Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PDR), challenged Caldern’s lead of about 230,000 votes-a 0.6 percent margin.

Demanding a recount, Obrador organized massive protests in Mexico City, closing 14 blocks of the main financial district and replacing the usually trafficked area with yellow tents for thousands of supporters.

Obrador still lost, but said he will run a parallel government on the streets because the election votes were fraud.

“He has also threatened that there will be two presidents instead of one,” said Claudio Holzner, assistant professor in political science and forum speaker.

Obrador charged the IFE with fraud with a suspicion that voting was manipulated through computers, said Allison Rowland, a visiting professor at the U.

“It should be pointed out, however, that it was run by randomly selected Mexican citizens,” Rowland said.

Although Caldern will be officially sworn in on Dec. 1, some people will continue to fight for Obrador’s presidency.

Mexican citizens need to be on the PDR’s side because its focus is to help the poor, said Josh Earnshaw, first-year graduate student in economics.

“I know (the election) was fraud,” said Earnshaw, who was born in Mexico. “I will keep demonstrating because if you go there and talk to the people, you’ll see that (Obrador) was right.”

Obrador’s actions, however, have swayed Priscilla Cabral to think otherwise.

“Obrador is not acting democratically because he is not respecting the results,” said Cabral, senior in business and communication. “If every single candidate that loses claims fraud, what’s the point of having the election?”

According to USA TODAY, Mexican President Vicente Fox has cancelled the traditional Independence Day celebration in Mexico City on Saturday to avoid potential violent protests.