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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MEXICO4707
2006-08-21 23:12:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

CHIAPAS GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: PRD LEADS BY A

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINR  MX 
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DE RUEHME #4707/01 2332312
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R 212312Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2810
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 004707 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MX
SUBJECT: CHIAPAS GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: PRD LEADS BY A
RAZOR-THIN MARGIN

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 004707

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MX
SUBJECT: CHIAPAS GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: PRD LEADS BY A
RAZOR-THIN MARGIN


1. (U) Summary. With over 94 percent of the votes counted as
of noon August 21 in the Chiapas gubernatorial race, PRD
candidate Juan Sabines Guerrero had a 0.22% lead over
PRI-PVEM rival Jose Antonio Aguilar Bodegas, who is also
endorsed by the PAN. However, there are still enough votes
left to be counted to leave the final outcome in doubt.
Following the August 20 election, each candidate declared
himself the winner. Sabines remarked that he is open to
reconciliation with the PAN. Aguilar complained of
irregularities and said he would challenge the results in
court. End Summary.


2. (U) On August 20, voters in Chiapas went to the polls to
cast their ballots for their next governor. The leading
candidates are the PRD's Juan Sabines Guerrero and the PRI's
Jose Antonio Aguilar Bodegas, also representing the Green
Party (PVEM). Ten days before the election, candidates from
the PAN and New Alliance (PANAL) parties withdrew from the
race and expressed support for PRI-PVEM candidate, in order
to present a stronger opposition bloc to the PRD.
Campaigning for Sabines in Chiapas the day before the
campaign closed, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador described the
unprecedented PRI-PVEM-PAN-PANAL alliance as "immoral."

PRD Candidate Slightly Ahead
--------------


3. (U) As of noon August 21, with just over 94% of the votes
counted, PRD candidate Sabines enjoys a slight lead over
Aguilar with 517,037 votes (48.39%), and 514,737 votes
(48.17%) for Aguilar. Nevertheless with nearly six percent
of the vote left to be counted, and given the narrowness of
the margin, the final outcome remains in doubt. Despite the
withdrawal of PAN candidate Francisco Rojas Toledo and PANAL
candidate Emilio Zebadua to support Aguilar, their names were
still on the ballot, with PAN's Rojas receiving 27,363 votes
(2.58%) and PANAL's Zebadua receiving 3233 votes (0.3%).
Districts still in dispute are San Cristobal de las Casas,
Ocosingo, Pichucalco, Tonala, and Tenejapa. Voter
participation in the election is estimated at 44.6%.

Both PRI and PRD Candidates Claim Victory
--------------



4. (U) The night of the election, with 30% of the vote
counted, both PRD and PRI candidates claimed victory. PRD
representatives stated that their candidate had won the
election with a margin of between 5-7 points, according to
campaign exit polls. Meanwhile, the PRI camp stated their
exit polls showed their candidate ahead by about two
percentage points.


5. (U) PRI's Aguilar told reporters that his "victory" shows
the public's will to defeat the "State Election" ("Election
de Estado"), referring to incumbent Governor Salazar's open
support for Sabines' during the campaign. On the other hand,
after claiming victory, PRD's Sabines told reporters that he
is open to reconciliation with the PAN, including the
possibility of "governing together."

Irregularities Reported
--------------


6. (U) About 1000 national and foreign observers monitored
the election. So far, the Electoral Institute of Chiapas has
reported 241 "inconsistencies." "We have documented many
irregularities" one Mexican Electoral Observation official
told El Universal, "including busing in voters, giving them
handouts in different zones and other tactics to secure the
vote for PRD candidate Sabines."


7. (U) Mexican newspapers also reported that four men were
arrested for electoral law violations, including prominent
labor leader Francisco de Jesus Torres who had earlier said
that his teacher's union of 48,000 members would not support
Sabines. According to El Universal, Torres was allegedly
carrying 50,000 pesos (approximately USD 5000) to buy votes
for the PRI candidate.


8. (U) Moreover, the Electoral Institute has requested the
federal attorney general to investigate a recording of an
alleged phone call between national PAN leader Manuel Espino
and a PRI delegate in Chiapas discussing money to buy votes.
Local PAN spokesperson has denied the authenticity of the

MEXICO 00004707 002 OF 002


tape.

Comment
--------------


9. (SBU) Before even the first vote was cast, AMLO announced
that the only way Aguilar could possibly defeat Sabines was
through fraud. Accordingly, should the PRI-PVEM-PAN alliance
pull off a surprise victory, it would likely spur claims of
fraud from the PRD and would probably add energy to AMLO's
challenge of the outcome of the presidential election. On
the other hand, if Sabines wins the election, it appears that
Aguilar will challenge the results in court using some of the
same arguments as AMLO has in the presidential race. This
election is another example of -- and may itself contribute
to -- Mexico's increasing political polarization.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity

GARZA