Obrador Supporters Cry Fraud in Mexican Election
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, I'm Debbie Elliott.
In Mexico City today, supporters of the man declared the loser in last weekend's presidential election are taking to the streets. Official results show leftist Andres Manual Lopez Obrador lost by only 200,000 votes. He has said there was massive fraud and is calling for a vote by vote recount. Meanwhile, the man who was declared the winner, conservative Felipe Calderon, says he is the president-elect.
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro was at today's demonstration, and we caught up with her there. Hello, Lourdes, tell us what's going on.
LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO reporting:
Well, I have to say, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was always expected to bring out a big crowd, and he has indeed done it. There are tens of thousands of people coming onto the main square in Mexico City, the Zocalo. They're carrying banners, they have masks with his face on them, they're chanting, There must be a solution, if not there will be a revolution. I've spoken to many of the people, rather, some of the people who've come here today, and they say that they believe there was fraud, as he is alleging. They believe that he is the rightful president of this country, and they say they will continue to protest until there is a vote by vote recount, which is what Andres Manual Lopez Obrador is calling for.
He says that there are - that the election was basically stolen from him, and he wants every ballot that was cast to be counted.
ELLIOTT: What do you think the likely impact of this huge turnout today will be there in Mexico?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, I think it'll have quite a big impact. This is going to be a real measure of his support. And the entire square is filled with Lopez Obrador supporters and I think that's going to send a very clear message to Felipe Calderon, to the tribunal that will now decide whether there is, indeed, any legal reason to go forward with a recount as Lopez Obrador is asking for, that there are many people here who are unhappy, many people who believe what Lopez Obrador is saying, and that this is not by any way, shape or form an election that is over.
ELLIOTT: Lopez Obrador gave a news conference today to members of the foreign press. What did he have to say?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, he gave this news conference after Felipe Calderon gave another news conference to the foreign press yesterday. As you can see, you know, the media is certainly being courted here by these two leaders that are contesting - rather, Lopez Obrador is contesting this election. But Felipe Calderon wants to make it seem that he is already the winner, that this is a fait accompli.
And what he had to say was basically there was fraud in this election, I want a vote-by-vote recount, I want to take this as far as it can go. He said he would not let it rest, that he felt that he had been cheated out of the presidency, and that he was going to be calling rallies like the one that I'm at today, for the duration, until there is a resolution to this. He feels that he won the election, and he says he's just not going to give it up.
ELLIOTT: Thanks a lot. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Mexico City.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're welcome.