MEXICO CITY (AP) – Felipe Calderon was declared president-elect yesterday after two months of uncertainty, but his ability to rule effectively remained in doubt with rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowing to lead a parallel leftist government from the streets.
The unanimous decision by the Federal Electoral Tribunal rejected allegations of systematic fraud and awarded Calderon the presidency by 233,831 votes out of 41.6 million cast in the July 2 elections – a margin of 0.56 percent. The ruling cannot be appealed.
Calderon now must win over millions of Mexicans angry that President Vicente Fox, who is from Calderon’s party, didn’t make good on promises of sweeping change – and fend off thousands of radicalized leftists who say they will stop at nothing to undermine his presidency.
Lopez Obrador, whose support is dwindling but becoming more radical, said he will not recognize the new government.
“I do not recognize someone who tries to act as the chief federal executive without having legitimate and democratic representation,” Lopez Obrador told followers at Mexico’s main central plaza, the Zocalo.
Lopez Obrador has vowed to block Calderon from taking power Dec. 1. Protesters outside the tribunal wept as the decision was announced and set off firecrackers that shook the building.
“We aren’t going to let him govern!” Thomas Jimenez, a 30-year-old law student, screamed as hundreds of protesters threw eggs and trash at the courthouse.
The decision by the seven judges – who have split their votes in disputes about other elections – also found that Fox endangered the election by making statements that favored Calderon, and that business leaders broke the law by paying for ads against Lopez Obrador, who promised to govern on behalf of the poor.
But the problems weren’t serious enough to annul the results, they said.
“There are no perfect elections,” Judge Alfonsina Berta Navarro Hidalgo said.
The court rejected most of Lopez Obrador’s allegations, including his claim that an ad campaign comparing him to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez unfairly swayed voters. The court also dismissed Lopez Obrador’s claim of subliminal messages in television ads by pro-Calderon businesses.