Mexican Elections.

by Miguel de Icaza

The news have reported that the election results do not point to any candidate as the clear winer yet. Sadly, the election is too close.

The situation will soon move from the counting of the votes into the political realm, as there are a few things happening in parallel.

There are three classes of computations in the election, two of them are ran by the Institute for Federal Elections (IFE) and another by third parties.

  • Exit polls and society sponsored sampling.
  • The IFE quick-vote counting, called the "PREP".
  • The official count, done by the IFE.

The exit polls are pretty random, it depends who is doing them, and where they are doing them (the country seems to be mostly divided: the north is very much PAN, the south is very much PRI).

The IFE quick vote counting (PREP) is not an official result, and is intended to give a quick overview of the election results. It would have been very useful to point out the winer if the disparity between parties was larger, say "40, 30, 20, others" (and in fact, its been useful to determine governors, senators and other broad strokes).

But the problem is it is not very precise, it is missing a lot of data that is not being accounted for. There is an agreement that if anything goes even slightly wrong with any of voting results coming from a location, the values will not be computed (missing data, typos). They are still displayed (bottom of the page), but they are not making it into the end result.

This means that the difference between the PAN and the PRD for the presidential is either:

  • 1%: quick vote count, and is still missing a few thousand voting booth results).
  • 0.7%: if the values for the pending values are taken into consideration (using a perl script on the data posted).
  • 0.4%: on the real count, but this so far only has 90% of the votes accounted for. The final number wont be announced for a few days.

And this is where it turns political. The PAN is demanding the IFE to call the election on their favor based on the quick count. The real voting results are not as encouraging and might still flip over to the other side considering all the votes that have not been counted yet.

In the meantime, a number of inconsistencies have been found in the PREP program between the reported numbers and the posted numbers on the streets (here).

There are still a number of possible events, and the city is abuzz with theories on what will happen next.

Unlike the Fox election, which was a relief to Mexicans, this one will not feel like a relief. With the Fox election, even if he was a right-wing candidate, getting rid of the PRI was good enough. Besides, Mexico City got the PRD as a major.

Track Records

The PAN orchestrated a fear campaign against the PRD/AMLO. The TV ads were fairly blunt "if they win, you will loose your job and your house", "Four families will be forced to live in an apartment", your standard cold-war era propaganda. I figured nobody would believe this sort of thing, but I was surprised to listen to my own friends echo these things back to me "we would have lost our houses and jobs".

They managed to smear a guy that was the runner up for "Best City Major" in the world, which had a great track records and fixed a miriad of problems in Mexico City, created a University for Mexico City, opened new schools and funded old people that needed money.

On the other hand, we have the fear-monger candidate. He was the man in charge of the largest debt in this administration (Fobaproa), the largest burden on the country; He is part of the small group of people which kept coming up with creative ways of privatizing the nationalized oil industry, and was recently discovered to be involved in a multi-million dollar nepotism scheme while he was Secretary of Energy. Basically, he has the profile of your standard CIA-approved candidate.

Anyways, Mexicans, like the Americans two years ago, managed to vote against their own interest as the discussion shifted away from the Economic Policy to whether the man had finished his degree and whether he ate babies with his bare hands.

Posted on 03 Jul 2006