By MARK LORENZANA
In October 2005, Felipe Calderón defeated Santiago Creel in the primary of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), and went on to become the standard bearer for the PAN in the 2006 Mexican general election. Calderón won 58 percent of the vote, while former Interior Secretary Santiago Creel received 33 percent. Former Environment Secretary Alberto Cardenas managed to capture 15 percent of the vote.
Creel and Cardenas would eventually concede to Calderón, but not before they accused Calderón supporters of violating election rules. Creel, in particular, was initially suspicious of results showing Calderon winning 72 percent of the vote in the Mexican state of Yucatan.
Calderón then went on to win the 2006 Mexican general election, defeating Mexican President Andrés Manuel Obrador — who back then ran under the Coalition for the Good of All — and Roberto Madrazo, the candidate of the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Calderón held a razor-thin lead over López Obrador, which prompted AMLO to dispute the election results, which Mexico’s Federal Electoral Court upheld. Calderón was proclaimed the 63rd president of Mexico.
Why are these incidents important, even though they happened almost 20 years ago? Why the need to preface them in this article?
Because López Obrador thinks they are important, in light of the first national internal elections of AMLO’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) on Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31, which were marred by violence, ballot stuffing and ballot-box burnings — among other crimes. Video clips of the violence and the shenanigans have already been posted and shared online, and on various social media outlets.
“There are repeated reports of fraud and irregularities, which they say happened during this weekend’s elections. But no, nothing,” López Obrador said in his daily morning press conference on Monday, Aug. 1, dismissing his critics — and actual video evidence of the fraud and irregularities — yet again. “When Calderón was a candidate for his party, he ran against Creel in the primary, and there were irregularities and fraud. And how can we not remember in 2006, when, unfortunately, the presidency was stolen? So congratulations to all those who participated yesterday.”
Monday’s Templo Mayor column by F. Bartolomé made special mention of Mario Delgado, president of Morena, who was described as “an expert in pretending not to notice.”
“Mario Delgado went out to presume that in most of the voting centers there was peace and tranquility. Maybe it’s true … or maybe the fraud couldn’t be documented there,” the Templo Mayor column read. “Anyway, everything that the workers have always complained about, which López Obrador would always mention happened in previous administrations, Morena is now doing as the party in power. And after seeing Morena’s internal elections play out, does anyone seriously want to put the electoral reform in this administration’s hands?”
Despite evidence of violence and fraud, López Obrador said that the Morena elections were “an act of democracy.”
Elections that were marred with burnings, ballot stuffing, riots, brawls and arrests are, apparently, still an act of democracy to AMLO.
To put it mildly, the recently concluded Morena elections were an insult to the Mexican people.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But the elections over the weekend didn’t just emit a whiff of smoke, they were a full-fledged dumpster fire — which everyone saw with their very own eyes.
But by AMLO’s logic, any smoke — or dumpster fire, or, heck, wildfire — coming from Morena, his backyard, is to be ignored.
López Obrador is too busy digging up embers from the ashes to blame for his administration’s shortcomings and incompetence — even if he needs to go way back 17 years ago.