Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IFE's president demands appointment of three missing councilors

OK, not missing as in lost in the wilderness, but for all practical effects, pretty close:

Quite amazingly, given that the 2012 race has all but started, and that IFE will now have considerably more tasks than in 2006, following the 2007-8 electoral reform: The Mexican Chamber of Deputies still has not appointed three new councilors missing on the IFE's general council, following the departure of three many, many months ago - I am not even sure of how long IFE has been operating with only 6 councilors. But what I do know is that this is technically unconstitutional, and that the Chamber of Deputies - and principally PRI, which demands to appoint two out the three - is not doing its job.

IFE president Leonardo Valdés again called on congress to do this as soon as possible, as time is running out - for la grande, the 2012 presidential one, but also 15(!) gubernatorial elections that year. Given the expansions of IFE's functions, they really need all hands on deck here.

Chiapas becomes first Mexican state to end the "arraigo"

Following the ratification of 78 municipalities, the state legislature in Chiapas declared an end to the legal arraigo,  where citizens may be held without any charges in what is perhaps best translated as "preventive detention," in all its Orwellian glory.

Many human rights organizations have pushed for this, and for it to be extended to other states as well, and with good cause: It completely eliminates the presumption of innocence. The United Nations have also called on Mexico to end this legal practice. Now Chiapas became the first state to do so.

The new fraud: Electoral tourism

El Universal has had some excellent columns as of late, and one of them is Denise Maerker's colum on "New forms of electoral fraud." I remember reading just one story on this subject from Mexico State, and Maerker puts a welcome spotlight on it again: PRI - because all the examples involve the party - is trying out a new method of influencing elections that has so far slipped under the radar screen of electoral authorities.

Simply put: In very competitive elections, with months of anticipation, local communities all of a sudden see a rush of new people moving to the area. They then try to gain residency, get a local voter card, and maintain it just long enough to vote and influence the election result.

The beast has a name: "Electoral tourism." It is far to early to say how widespread it is, and clearly it is a complicated operation that is not pulled off easily. Yet it seems fair to posit, as does Maerker, that this the new electoral fraud.

Almost makes you miss the good ole' vote tacos.