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Unprecedented

15 July 2012

The Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF: Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación) will start considering the evidence tomorrow morning on challenges to the July 1 Presidential election.

It may be the street demonstrations that are getting the little press that protests to the imposition of the PRI candidate is receiving, but the TEJPF seems to be taking their constitutional role quite seriously, and has teams of lawyers and investigators lined up to examine evidence from every one of the 300 electoral districts. I expect there will be some hair-splitting and lawyerly hemming and hawing, but just the fact that the TEPJF is considering the case is something of a wonder.

TEPJF is a court of law. We may not have a presumption that one is guilty until proven innocent any more… not in theory anyway, but it’s a clear indication that those who have raised questions about Peña Neito’s winning margin aren’t being seen as cranks and sore losers, but as aggrieved parties with more than probable cause for their charges.

The very long “transition” from one administration to the next,a whole six months, may not be as retro as it seems. I don’t make predictions (when I do, they’re normally wrong), but I will offer a historical precedent for dealing with an unprecedented bump in the transition process. When Obregón was assassinated after his election in 1928, but before taking office — the Chamber of Deputies followed the constitution and appointed an interim president, Emiliano Portes Gil, who only served the 18 months until a new election could be held. Portes Gil basically used his term to guarantee that his party choice won. Which he did. While it seems unlikely at this point that the election would be annulled, the evidence, along with continued leaks and anti-Peña Neito press and propaganda, and possible street action, could convince his party that Peña Neito, the object of the protests, is the impediment to their return to power. They PRI leadership might “convince” the presumed President-elect to step down in favor of an interim president acceptable (or at least tolerable) to at least the PAN side of the opposition.

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