Mexico, a tale of two presidents

President elect Felipe Calderon’s inauguration is scheduled for December 1, but leftist opponent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced that he will form a shadow cabinet to inaugurate his parallel government ten days before.

Political crisis in Mexico worsens as leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Thursday announced that he will form a “shadow cabinet” to inaugurate a parallel government on November 20, ten days before President-elect Felipe Calderon’s inauguration ceremony, scheduled for December 1. On his ongoing national tour, Lopez Obrador has informed backers he is defining the members of the government he will assume as the “legitimate Mexican president”, in protest for what his Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) considers a fraudulent victory of Calderon in July presidential election.

Lopez Obrador said his swearing-in ceremony will take place November 20, on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. As such, Mexico will have two governments by December: one, legitimated by leftist forces strong in the capital and the other one, legally backed in courts, but unpopular amid the country’s poor majority.

In the meantime, Mexico's outgoing President Vicente Fox tried to bring calm to the international community over the critical situation in what is considered a leading country in Latin America. Fox said in New York that he does not expect the country's leftist opposition to militantly oppose his successor even though it has declared a parallel government.

"I don't see the situation as tense," Fox said. "The opposition and the opposition candidate have always talked about resistance but peaceful resistance ... that's how things have been until now and that's how we expect them to continue." "What we expect is the integration of all the political forces, including the PRD, in a dialogue," Fox said. "Some people from this party have already said they are in favor of a dialogue."

Two weeks ago, the Electoral Federal Court declared Calderon president-elect, but the opposition insisted on their demands of fraud and irregularities denounced by the For the Good of All coalition during the July 2 elections. This week, s upporters of election loser Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declared him president of their "parallel government". The declaration came at the end of seven weeks of intense protests with Lopez Obrador supporters camped out in the center of Mexico City, clogging the heart of the capital.

Calderon won by less than 234,000 votes, or 0.6 percent of total votes cast. Lopez Obrador's followers claimed election fraud and demanded a full vote recount. PRD lawyers presented evidence about the alleged fraud, but the country’s electoral tribunal said it was not sufficient to order a vote-by-vote full recount of the election.

Hernan Etchaleco

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov