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Claims of victory part of election antics

July 06, 2006

Your editorial "Mexico's vote" (July 4) rebukes presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for claiming victory on election night after officials declared the contest too close to call. Taking such provocative action, The Times submits, proves Lopez Obrador clearly unfit to be a good president.

Yet in the same day's front-page story, The Times reveals that it was the campaign manager of candidate Felipe Calderon who first defied the electoral commission by announcing that exit polls favored his candidate. Calderon himself claimed victory at a televised rally that same evening to a crowd of cheering supporters. Did both candidates and campaigns prove themselves unfit, or were they simply behaving like politicians in a democracy on election night?

ROBERT POTTER

Santa Barbara

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I don't agree with you that Lopez Obrador showed "why he probably would not make a great president of Mexico" by protesting his apparent defeat and suggesting in public that the election was rigged against him. Given that just 18 years ago the nominee of Lopez Obrador's party did indeed have a presidential election stolen from him by the then-ruling PRI party, it's quite reasonable for Lopez Obrador and his supporters to suspect that the same thing has happened again.

Indeed, I can't help but think how much better off the U.S. would be if Al Gore had aggressively protested the way the 2000 election was stolen from him instead of taking a so-called statesmanlike position and letting President Bush run off with the presidency and the country.

MARK GABRISH CONLAN

San Diego

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With about 40% of Mexico's population living in poverty, let us all hope the winner of this contested election develops an economic program more sophisticated than the present, long-standing policy of "send them north."

RON LESOVSKY

Huntington Beach

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