Article by Susana Hayward Soler, originally posted on News Taco

An editorial in the Madrid daily El Pais calls leftist Manuel Lopez Obrador a “bad loser” in the July 1 presidential election that preliminary results show he lost to Enrique Peña Nieto by seven percentage points.

Lopez Obrador, a second-time presidential candidate for the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), is indeed probably a sore loser. In 2006, he lost to outgoing President Felipe Calderon by a smidgeon, and given Mexico’s long history of corruption and electoral fraud, no one really knows whether those elections were really fair. Doubts persist today and always will.

Six years ago, Lopez Obrador declared himself Mexico’s legitimate president and paralyzed the country following the results with protests that lasted for months. Those street demonstrations still stir anger with many sectors of the population who charge the popular ex-mayor of Mexico City held the country hostage.
And now, he’s at it again, challenging the vote, with supporters and advocates for democracy protesting the “imposition” of Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the mother of political corruption, as president of Mexico.

“Clearly, the ongoing street protests against Peña Nieto’s win express the dissatisfaction of many Mexicans with the PRI’s imminent return to power. The same party held an iron grip over the country for seven decades until its electoral demise in 2000,” El Pais said in the editorial published July 16. “But the anxiety-making march back to power of a party that is so intimately linked to corruption … cannot hide the fact that the populist Lopez Obrador has always been a bad loser.”

The opinion piece goes on to say that while there were voting “irregularities,” they were probably not enough
to affect the outcome.

The irregularities consisted of vote-buying, phantom ballots that outnumbered registered voters, embarrassing math tallies, lost ballots, coercion, a massive-media campaign and violence.

Even if these were not as rampant as Lopez Obrador and many others believe, it is shameful that in the age of Internet, where little can be hidden in a social media world, “irregularities” are even accepted as a norm in a supposed democracy, in a country that is a top U.S. trading partner and ally of a “drug war,” a war where the only lives lost are Mexican.

A tainted election puts everything in doubt.  Most of all, it will plunge Mexico, already rife with conspiracy theories, into a sexenio beset by doubt that will not even benefit the presidency of Pena Nieto at a time when Mexico needs certainty to meet the economic disparities and violence gripping the nation.
And this makes everybody, not just Lopez Obrador, a loser.

[Photo via WikiMedia]

You can follow Susana Hayward Soler on Twitter @mediasayer

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