17 October 2006

PRD alleges fraud in Tabasco

Barely 100 days after the PRD, led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, narrowly lost the federal election, the left-leaning party fell well short of victory in last Sunday's gubernatorial race in Tabasco, Lopez Obrador's home state. In a swift reversal of fortune, PRD support dropped by 34 percent, or 165,000 votes, despite the best efforts of Lopez Obrador, who campaigned recently in the small, but oil-rich state.

Lopez Obrador, who lost a scandalous 1994 gubernatorial race in Tabasco, is receiving much of the blame as critics, both in the PRD and outside of the party, castigate his post-election protesting and assailing of Mexico's electoral institutions. Analysts are largely accusing Lopez Obrador of inadvertently tarnishing his party's image - Tabasco being the first example of that - and putting his own interests ahead of the PRD's in an effort to prove fraud in the federal race.

Sergio Sarmiento somewhat harshly wrote in today's Mural (Guadalajara), "In a short time, Lopez Obrador has revived the viloent image of the PRD as a party that demonizes institutions and uses roadblocks as a weapon of political pressure."

Other were more charitable. An article in The Herald Mexico pointed out the PRD ran an unpopular candidate, who had lost two previous gubernatorial races. (The 2000 election results were annulled, but the PRI won again in a re-vote.)

The PRI, which brought a sordid past in Tabasco politics, won the race, although unseemly allegations of vote-buying and harassment surfaced. While encouraging and a boost for the troubled party, it only proves the PRI can win on the state level and hardly signals a national revival.

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