Even should a recount be ordered, the question of who will do the counting -- given the vehement distrust of the Federal Electoral Institute by AMLO's supporters -- is a potential flashpoint for trouble. Historically, when the electoral option has been canceled as a means of social change by vote fraud, the armed option gains adherents in Mexico.
Despite AMLO's talents at exciting mass resistance and the number of times he can fill the Zocalo to bursting, the only numbers that really count are those inside the nation's 130,000 ballot boxes. Will the justices satisfy Lopez Obrador's demand for a vote-by-vote recount? All seven judges are in their final year on the TRIFE bench and at least three members are candidates to move up to the Supreme Court in the next administration. In the past, the judges, who decide by majority opinion, have been quite independent of political pressures, ordering annulments and recounts in two gubernatorial elections and in whole electoral districts - but have never done so in a presidential election. Forcing that historical precedent is what Lopez Obrador's call for mass mobilizations is all about.
If AMLO's foes are counting on a long, drawn-out legal tussle that will discourage the faithful and eventually reduce his support to a handful of diehard losers, they have grievously miscalculated the energy and breadth of the leftist's crusade to clean up the 2006 election. This past weekend, as this senior citizen trudged the highway down from Zapata country to the big city, two police officers lounging outside the highway tollbooths gently patted me on the back and urged me on. "Animo!" they encouraged, "keep up the spirit!"
When even the cops are in solidarity with Lopez Obrador's fight for electoral justice, the writing is on the wall for Calderon and his right-wing confederates. Indeed, the wall of the old stone convent around the corner from my rooms here in the old quarter says it quite clearly: "AMLO PRESIDENTE!"
John Ross's "Zapatistas! Making Another World Possible – Chronicles of Resistance 2000-2006" will be published by Nation Books this October.
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