And the President is…

It’s taken four days of counting and recounting, but finally the official verdict has been delivered….Felipe Calderon! Over the last couple of days as the ballot tallies were added up, the lead swapped to and fro between the main protagonists, with Obrador at one stage enjoying a 2% lead with some 70 per cent of the votes counted. But the final result was the same as the preliminary result, albeit with a slightly reduced majority. And a wafer thin majority at that, with a fraction of a per cent advantage meaning that the difference between winning and losing came down to just a few thousand votes in an election with over 40 million people going to the polls. So some will be happy, many will be bitter, but at least shares in Mexican companies have sharply risen upon this news.

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But if you think the wrangling is over, you would – naturally – be wrong. Calderon has spent much of the campaign likening his opponent to the rather controversial Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and whilst I have thought this a bit much, Lopez Obrador is now doing more to justify the tag than ever before. He is refusing to accept the result and threatening to ‘mobilize millions’, starting this weekend with assemblies in the Zocalo, the centre of Mexico City. A tactic he has used before….

I can’t imagine he will actually achieve anything, not least because the Instituto Federal Electoral are generally well regarded and there is probably little truth in Obrador’s accusations of ‘inconsistencies and irregularities’. Sour grapes and an overly developed ego are more like it.

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As things stand, Obrador has four days to lodge a formal complaint, which he will likely do. IFE then have to investigate and reach o formal and final conclusion by September 6th. Which they will certainly do. And then the incumbent president, Vicente Fox, will hand over to Felipe Calderon in December. It’s inconceivable that he won’t.

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