Tag Archives: election

Finally ceasefire in Venezuela?

16 Oct

Photo: Venezuelan information ministry

An editorial in the Mexican daily La Jornada praised the Venezuelan elections, which it said resolved political differences in a pacific and democratic way, instead of intensifying and multiplying them like it had happened in Mexico.

So, is this the moment for the “Bravo!”?

I know my Venezuelan friends would disagree and there have been reports of opposition supporters weeping with disappointment over the election results.

But eight millions Venezuelans danced in the streets with joy that the president, who has halved poverty and has extended social and political rights to them, has been re-elected.

At the same time, the opposition has achieved strong results, which have made Hugo Chavez to soften his usually confrontational tone.

He said he had “a pleasant” phone conversation with the opposition leader Henrique Capriles. “I’m inviting to national unity, while respecting our differences.” Chavez tweeted a day after the elections.

If the election outcome reconciled the government and the opposition to the level normal in other democratic countries, the Venezuelans could hope for a brighter future.

It is this extreme animosity between the two sides that poisons the Venezuelan society. The attacks from the opposition (and opposition-run media), such as the attempted coup in 2002, push Chavez further to authoritarianism, which then prompts more attacks, sometimes amounting to conspiracy against the government.

So far, Capriles has acted exemplary in this sense. He refrained from any show of malevolence when the news of Chavez’s illness emerged last year and wished him instead to get better soon.

He promptly recognized the election results and congratulated the re-elected president without attempting to accuse him of electoral fraud.

But the US newspaper The Wasington Post warned that after previous peace offers, Chavez quickly returned to confrontation.



5 Jul

For the moment, Mexico’s losing presidential candidate follows in his 2006 steps. Will he change the course?


Three days after the presidential election in Mexico on 1 July, few wonder who has won. The breaths are held to see if Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will accept more easily thand the last time that it is not him.

In 2006, he lost the race for the country’s top office by less that 1% to the current President Filipe Calderon. This year the margin is much larger. According to preliminary results, Enrique Pena Nieto has won 38.15% and Mr Lopez Obrador 31.64% of the vote.

Six year ago, the followers of the leftist candidate occupied streets during months following the elections. Mr Lopez Obrador repeatedly apologised for the havoc, which, some analysts say, has cost him at this year’s polls. However, for the moment the post-election events strikingly resemble the 2006 sequence. Here is a comparison:

  • Mexicans casted their votes on 2 July in 2006.
  • In 2012, the election day was on 1 July.
  • A day after the 2006 election, Mr Lopez Obrador showed a press conference copies of results from some polling stations, which he said didn’t match the preliminary results published by Mexico’s election body on the internet. Three million votes were missing from the preliminary results total, he said.
  • In 2012, a day after the election, Mr Lopez Obrador was the only presidential candidate refusing to concede defeat, saying he would wait until all the votes were counted. He told a press conference that he cannot accept “fraudulent results” and announced that “if it will be necessary to request a vote recount, he will do it”.
  • Two days after the 2006 election, on 4 July, preliminary indicated that Mr Lopez Obrador won 35.34 per cent of the vote, 1 per cent behindFelipeCalderon.He rejected the results and called for a recount.
  • In 2012, on 3 July, he tweeted that in accordance with law, the vote-count in 300 districts should be revised.

Although some media suggested that Mr Lopez Obrador promised during his campaign to accept this year’s results, he has always attached conditions to this.

When a group of intellectuals asked him on 7 June if he was willing to sign a document confirming that he will accept the verdict of the electoral authority, he replied:  “If there is a fraud, how can I accept it? It would be a betrayal of democracy, it would be to betray ourselves”.

Already before the elections took place he was speaking about numerous irregularities.

So, what can we expect if the events in Mexico continue to follow the 2006 course?

Here is how it happened back then:

  • Four days after the elections, on 6 July, Mr Lopez Obrador announced at a news conference that he would challenge the election results with the Federal Electoral Tribunal and demand that the votes are re-counted “one-by-one”.
  • On 7 July, he called on his supporters to rally the following day at the Mexico City’s main square, Zocalo, to protest against the election result.
  • On 8 July, the defeated candidate announced that the following day he would challenge the election in Mexico’s highest electoral court, because it has violated the principles of legality, independence, impartiality, and objectivity, consecrated in Article 41 of the Constitution.
  • On 9 July, Mr Lopez Obrador held a protest rally in Zocolo and called for further demonstrations on 12 and 16 July to protest against the election result. He asked a special seven judge electoral tribunal to order a full recount because of what he said were irregularities and fraud in the vote counting process.
  • On 16 July, he repeated demands for vote-by-vote recount during protest in Zocolo.
  • On 30 July, the Mexican leftist called on his supporters to occupy the centre of the capital in permanent camps until there is a recount of all the votes.
  • On 28 August, Mr Lopez Obrador refused to accept defeat after a top court rejected his fraud claims and vowed to fight on to overturn the result.
  • On 5 September, he rejected the ruling that declared Felipe Calderon a president-elect and refused to recognise him as such. He called for a National Democratic Convention in Zocolo on 16 September.
  • On 16 September, a resolution of the National Democratic Convention named Mr Lopez Obrador the “legitimate president.” Following the voting on the Convention’s proposals, the delegates agreed that they would not recognize Felipe Calderon as the president-elect or his government.
  • On 20 November, Mr Lopez Obrador was sworn in as Mexico’s “legitimate president” at a special ceremony in Zocolo. A massive protest was slated for 1 December to oppose the inauguration of Mr Calderon.




Le Pen made it!

18 Jun

Marine Le Pen can, and at the same time, cannot be satisfied with the results of the legislative elections on 10 and 17 June. Under her leadership, the far-right National Front has finally escaped from the curse of the French electoral system that has kept it out of the Parliament for the last 24 years. It will now have two deputies sitting there. However, as a big surprise, not Marine, but her 22-year-old niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, will be one of them.

Social media has not been kind to this newly elected legislator, with many netizens pointing to her perceived immaturity.

“Can I also have my kids looked after by the National Assembly?” joked ‏@JCBordes at 8:38 PM on 17 June.

One tweet linked to a Youtube video from August 2010, headlined “When Marion Le Pen cracks”. Then 20-year-old woman speaks about her political activism. Unable to answer a trivial question about her programme for the regional elections she is running in, she walks out of shot.

The video generated a lot of comment following her election to Parliament this year.

Other twitterers are critical of Marion’s claim that she represents France’s youth:

‏”I’m happy to be a spokesperson for French youth”, she was quoted as saying by @BrozdziakFred, who added “She is a spokesperson for idiotic ideas”. (8:43 PM, 17 June)

In the same spirit, @Eli_Dy, asks who will explain to Marion Le Pen “that not all French youth are racist”. (3:56 PM, 18 Jun 12)
‏And puzzled @laur_ages adds: “I don’t know which youth she is talking about, because my youth send the FN (National Front) to hell. (10:28 PM, 17 Jun 12)

I must admit, there have also been tweets expressing admiration for the success of the young woman. Indeed, she is the youngest legislator in modern French history. One twitterer wondered why no other party has had a young person elected. “It is grotesque that the PS and the UMP have not been able to elect any young French people to the Parliament”, ‏@Bennoit1 tweeted at 9:54 PM on 17 June.

However, positive comments were much less frequent than criticism on Twitter.