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Latin America and the Caribbean

SI Observer Mission at the elections in Mexico

29 June-06 July 2006

A Socialist International Observer Mission was present in Mexico for the elections held on 2 July. Headed by SI Secretary General Luis Ayala, the delegation included Rubén Giustiniani and Oscar González, President and Secretary General of the Socialist Party, Argentina; Rafael Abinader, Rafael Lantigua and Peggy Cabral of the Dominican Revolutionary Party; Francesca D'Ulisse of the Democrats of the Left, Italy; Rubén Berríos, President of the Puerto Rican Independence Party; and, Frank Llewellyn, George Roberts and Daniel Reynolds of the Democratic Socialists of America. The presence of the SI observers covered the period from 29 June to 6 July, including meetings with candidates and electoral officials, observation of the vote and the count at various polling stations, and during the post-election declarations.

The delegation held meetings with members of the leadership and candidates of both SI member parties in Mexico, the Party of Democratic Revolution, PRD, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI, as well as with SI Vice-President Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. During their stay in Mexico, the SI observers also held discussions with diplomats and other visiting foreign delegations. As registered observers with the Federal Electoral Institute, IFE, they participated as well in activities organised by the Institute for invited international visitors. On the day of the elections, members of the Mission observed the voting process in the Federal District of Mexico and the State of Morelos, and followed the count.

The SI representatives noted that the vote took place in a positive atmosphere of civic participation with a voter turnout of close to 60 per cent nationally and almost 70 per cent in the capital - and despite the complexities of the vote, which combined elections for President, Senate, Chamber of Deputies, and in some areas also for Governors, Mayors and State Legislative Assemblies, the Mexican electorate understood well the process and participated without significant incident.

The delegation members then followed the developments which unfolded in the hours after the polls closed, during which it transpired that contrary to previous expectations, no initial outcome of the presidential election could be announced at that time, given the closeness of the result. A process of adding up tally sheets of results as they came in from every polling station then continued throughout the night of 2 July and on Monday 3 July. On the morning of Tuesday 4, the PRD reported multiple inconsistencies and irregularities in the count and demanded a recount of all votes. On Wednesday 5, as part of the process, the count of the tally sheets from all the 300 electoral districts of the country was undertaken, finishing on Thursday 6 July with IFE declaring a difference of 0.58 per cent between the two leading candidates. Subsequently, the PRD and its coalition partners announced that they would challenge the declared outcome at the Electoral Tribunal, in accordance with Mexican Law. In light of these developments, the SI delegation members considered it of the utmost importance that the Mexican people should have total certainty and confidence in the voting process, in its legality and its results, and that the Mexican electorate deserved a clear and definite winner. Furthermore, in view of the closeness of the presidential vote and the existence of serious reservations by one of the leading candidates about the announced figures and his demand for a recount, the SI observers strongly felt that complete transparency and full disclosure of information on the process were vital for political stability in the country and the ability of its democratic institutions to perform properly in this coming presidential period. The SI delegation also felt it was particularly crucial today that the relevant authorities do everything in their power to resolve this vital question openly and fairly, so securing the confidence of the Mexican citizens in their electoral system and institutions.

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