25 August 2006

Two presidents?

The Lopez Obrador saga keeps generating headlines and could potentially lead to some curious - and troublesome - outcomes.

The PRD aspirant told Le Monde that a proposed "National Democratic Convention" scheduled for Sept. 16 in Mexico City's Zocalo could declare him the "legitimate president." He argued that Article 39 of the constitution - a document many Mexicans can quote surprisingly well - permits it. Lopez Obrador, of course, fell short by some 244,000 on July 2, but little of that seems to matter.

Lopez Obrador often referrs to the people. During the campaign, he and his supporters would always rebuke unfavorable polls, which they attributed to various enemies, including Los Pinos, by saying the PRD had the support of the people. In other words, to paraphrase Lopez Obrador biographer George Grayson, Lopez Obrador views laws and election outscomes as the will of the people as he interprets it.

Various critics referred to Lopez Obrador as a cacique (strongman) in response to the interview. The PAN responded by saying Lopez Obrador's actions prove their campaign assertion that he is, in fact, "A danger for Mexico."

As for the National Democratic Convention, if held as proposed, it would displace the military's annual parade on Sept. 16 (Independence Day) and interupt the grito, when the president shouts, "Viva Mexico," in central Mexico City.

Fox, not wanting to upset anyone too much - as per usual - said he would give the grito in the Zocalo, but invited the camped-out protesters to participate. They declined. The mayor of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanuato, where Miguel Hidalgo gave the first grito in 1810, triggering a revolt against Spanish rule, has asked Fox to come to the cradle of Mexican independence instead.

The protesters show no signs of leaving anytime soon, putting the Mexico City government on the spot - needing to remove tents so normal festivities can take place. This won't happen as the PRD government in the Federal District openly supports Lopez Obrador's struggle, which wouldn't be accomplishing much were it not for their support.

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