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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo Electoral Chicanery? Let us wait for the Federal Tribunal for Electoral Frauds have the final say
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Whether you sympathize or not with the extreme left National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party, it does not matter.

But what does is the behavior of the National Electoral Institute (INE) who last week invalidated the candidacy of David Monreal for governor of the state of Zacatecas.

The reason was, as published before, that Monreal failed to account less than five thousand pesos in pre-campaign expenses. This time INE officials led by election finance watchdog Ciro Murayama decided to take the candidacy away from Monreal.

This is a milestone as it is the first time INE gets strict with finances. What smells of rotten fish in this cancellation of candidacy is that other candidates belonging to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) were apparently guilty of the same action. Yet INE officials only saw Monreal’s fault, and not the other candidates’, as Monreal claims it happened.

Murayama was cited to an INE extraordinary session where he repeated that the delivery of pre-campaign expenditures is not optional. “It’s an obligation mandated by the law for all parties and candidates.”

By the way, along with Monreal’s cancellation, Murayama and INE officials also cancelled the candidacies’ two other minor party candidates, Jorge Grey of the Labor Party and Salvador Llamas of the Citizens’ Movement, all for the same reason.

How do those with their cancelled candidates read the “obviously political” moves made by comptroller Murayama? Their reading is unquestionable; Murayama is nothing but a lowly hit man for the PRI and the PVEM because with this movement and the above mentioned candidates out of the way, the PRI-PVEM coalition candidate for governor will have a clear path to victory.

Last Sunday a mass meeting in the state capital city of Zacatecas brought out approximately 10,000 people in support of Monreal’s candidacy (according to local daily “El Sol de Zacatecas”) and in that meeting Monreal denounced the move to remove him as candidate because it was obvious that in the polls he was ahead of the closest runner up by six percentage points.

Now the candidacy cancellation will be challenged at the Federal Tribunal for Electoral Frauds and whatever the result is, Monreal will not let up in his frontal attacks against Murayama or INE, both of whom he is accusing of siding with the PRI and PVEM.
“Let me make myself very clear,” Monreal told the crowd cheering him, “I continue to be a candidate.”

Monreal also said that most of the other candidates “did not present pre-campaign accounting” but that “far from sanctioning them, they opened up the victory gate for them. This is a double standard.”

As a result, he added, an institution such as INE which is supported and financed by the state to act as an impeccable and unbiased judge is now “losing the respect and credibility as well as legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry.”

Monreal, who is the younger brother of Ricardo, current head of the Cuauhtémoc Borough in Mexico City and former Zacatecas governor, made it a point that he wants to compete and if defeated, he wants it to be “by votes, not by chicaneries.”

During the meeting Sunday, he vowed to visit the rest of the state to make his case and force the Electoral Fraud Tribunal to come up with a solution soon.

“If there’s no solution, there’ll be revolution” the crowd Sunday in Zacatecas chanted to back Monreal’s frustrated stance.

Now the ball is in the Tribunal’s court but for now, all the badmouthing is heading towards INE comptroller Ciro Murayama, who has no other defense than claiming he made “a correct decision.”

And reality has it that at INE there have been officials before who were suspect of selling out to one, or two, political parties which makes Murayama a prime suspect of wrongdoing.
Another suspicion always present in the minds of Mexican voters is that PRI and its crony Green Party will do anything to win an election, and what we’re witnessing in the Monreal vs. Murayama case is a new way of stealing elections.

But to be fair, let us wait for the Federal Tribunal for Electoral Frauds have the final say.

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