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“I don’t like your attitude” Fox

1 September 2006

A not bad review of what WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN (written well in advance of the speech’s scheduled . 7 p.m. Mexico City Time start ) was written by Ceci Connelly of the Washington Post.

The published (pre-delivery) version of Fox’s speech was already on the presidential website… and then this.

Leftists disrupt opening of Mexican parliament

Friday September 1, 2006 Mexico City- Lawmakers loyal to a leftist who claims he won Mexico’s presidential election disrupted the national parliament’s opening session Friday, forcing its suspension.

Members of Andres Lopez Obrador’s Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) occupied the speaker’s podium, waved Mexican flags and shouted “Obrador, Obrador” as they prevented outgoing President Vicente Fox from giving his farewell speech to a joint session of both houses.

Lopez Obrador claims he was robbed of victory in July 2 presidential elections after official counts showed him losing to conservative Felipe Calderon by less than one percentage point. During Friday’s tumult, PRD lawmakers accused Fox of treason and took up Lopez Obrador’s calls for a recount of the nationwide presidential voting.

© 2006 DPA – Deutsche Presse-Agenteur
(Photo: The Raw Story)

What happened?

From E-Once Noticias (my translation)

For the first time in the country’s history, the Chief Executive was prevented from reading his ceremonial State of the Nation (“Informe de Gobierno”) speech.

“Given the attitude of that group of legislators which make it impossible to read my prepared message, I’m leaving the chamber,” Vincente Fox Quesada said.

As PRD members shouted and waved placards in the Chamber, the text was handed to the Senate Presiding Committee (Mesa Directive del Senado).

The commotion began when Revolutionary Democratic (PRD) Senator Carlos Navarrete sat down on the podium, and refused to leave. He was joined moments later by other PRD legislators. This violation of the Constitution cannot be accepted by this Congress, in any manner. I request – excuse me, Mr. Senator – I call on the legislator – excuse me, I request to be allowed to finish my speech. OK. Since you won’t let the Party of the Democratic Revolution give their response, the conditions do not exist for a Congressional Session. My companions and I are not leaving this room until constitutional guarantees are re-establshed, and so… this session is suspended de facto,” Navarrete proclaimed.

Minutes later, PAN Senator Jorque Zermeño, the Senate Coordinating Committee Chair, which was in charge of the joint session, declared a recess to allow people to cool down. However, Zermeño decided not to reconvene the session.

Instead, he returned to claim “This Presidency has submitted its report, and President Vincete Fox Quesada has complied with the regulations established in Article 69 of the Constitution of the United Mexican States. He was present at the opening of the session, and entered in writing the Informe.”

El Universal is reporting Fox was going to read the speech on TV from Los Pinos. Ironically, it’s the Cuban News Agency (Prensa Latina) that explains the parliamentary manouvering by which Fox tecnically fulfilled his constitutional duty.

This is a public relations disaster for Fox. Like the U.S. President’s “State of the Union Address” the audience for the Informe includes the diplomatic corps and foreign press. This year, the head of Mexico City, Alehjandro Encinas, publically refused to attend. As did several “usual suspects” on the left.

Even more than the State of the Union, this is an extremely important event for Mexican presidents. Until recently, when the Legislature began to assume an advesarial role in Mexican politics, it was more a “Speech from the Throne” — with all the pomp and circumstance that would go with a speech by Queen Elizabeth or King Juan-Carlos — than a mere political address. Gustavo Diaz-Ordaz, whose Presidency over-lapped LBJ’s and Dick Nixon’s (and was more devious than both of them put together) made his name in Mexican politics when, as a back-bencher for the PRI, he would sit next to the one or two opposition party legislators then around, and jab a pistol into the their ribs when it was time for unanamous applause. Which the President used to get.

Salinas, Zedillo, Fox have all had raucuos Informes, but this is a first. ever since they’ve started televising the Informe, it’s been great theater (when Carlos Salinas was pres, they couldn’t show you the legislators wearing piggy masks and oinking at him… before they let the speech be televised, they had to pass a law that you couldn’t wear masks in the Camera de dipudatos!). One of the best was a couple of years ago when a very good looking PT (ex-communist) Delegate from Chiapas planted a funeral wreath to protest his contentions that things were going well in her state. The PANistas started shouting “tubo! tubo!” — “take it off, take it off” — but that’s what you shout at a stripper, not a delegate. Of course, as I said, she was a extremely good looking woman, and immaculately dressed. Maybe the PANistas needed the piggy costumes.

I’m still assuming that Calderón will be declared the winner in the July election next week, but whether he’ll be able to govern is an open question at this point.

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