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Ángel Aguirre and the "Guerrero Unites Us" Coalition Take Elections

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 31 January, 2011

(Acapulco, NA, JG, AN 31 January) At 1:20 am this morning, the official vote counters announced that with 93.44% of the 4,895 precincts reporting, Ángel Aguirre Rivero has been elected the next governor of the State of Guerrero, defeating Manuel Añorve Baños. Aguirre’s coalition was called “Guerrero Unites Us” and was made up of the PRD, Convergencia and the PT. Añorve’s campaign used the title “Better Times for Guerrero,” and was essentially a PRI operation with collaboration from two small parties, the “Green Party” and Panal. The margin of victory looks to be around 14%, or 56% for Aguirre versus 42% for Añorve. A few ballots were cast for Marcos Parra of the PAN, who withdrew from the campaign four days ago, urging supporters to back the PRD candidate.

The authority for compiling election results is a division of the Guerrero State Election Institute called “PREP” (“program of preliminary election results” by its Spanish acronym). The raw vote count at the time of the announcement in the early hours of the day was 636,991 for Aguirre and 482,463 for Añorve. The final results should be confirmed and certified on Wednesday, when the 28 electoral districts officially report in. Preliminary results showed that Aguirre carried 26 out of 28.

Turnout was unexpectedly heavy, at 50%, a factor that evidently favored Aguirre’s campaign. The usual explanation of why that should be goes back to the last century, during the days of the PRI monopoly in Mexican politics. The only way to vote against the PRI was to abstain. Thus, higher turnout usually favors candidates in opposition to the historically institutional party.

The “PREP” confirmed that Aguirre had surpassed the number of votes cast in 2005 for then-candidate Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, also of the PRD.

Overall, Election Day went very smoothly with few glitches in the operation of the polling places. Voters were peaceful, although authorities admitted that the inevitable disputes, intimidation and confrontations between party operatives still took place. Acapulco was responsible for most disturbances, but vote buyers were arrested in the Costa Chica. In the pueblos of the mountains and in Tierra Caliente the main problems were the tunimely set up of the voting places and errors in the final voter lists. The authorities received 122 official complaints of election law violations.

Añorve has not yet issued a public statement about the election. The head of the PRI’s National Committee, Beatriz Paredes Rangel, said that her party was faced with an “unnatural” coalition (meaning a mix of the left and the right), which was the product of “disloyalties.” PRI militant Senator Fernando Castro Trenti said that the party would try to annul the election because of “irregularities.”

The "irregularites" cited in formal complaints, however, appear to implicate PRI supporters more than any others. A third episode of a false newspaper front page occurred in Chilpancingo, where the front page announced that former presidential candidate López Obrador (PRD) advised against voting for Aguirre. It also showed misleading instructions on how to fill out a ballot. The result would be nullification. In Acapulco, groups of youths hovered around some of the polling places, intimidating and threatening citizens, trying to suppress the vote. Some openly carried firearms. In Egido they beat up a PRD sympathizer. Instead of their traditional black t-shirts, they donned purple and circulated in vehicles with no license plates. They wore black ribbons tied to their wrists. According to Octavio Santiago Dionicio, a crusader for social reform and a PRD enthusiast, they were brought to Egido by César Flores Maldonado, a former PRI senator. Allegedly the PRI offered the men “four new tires and free lunch in the bus station.” Aguirre’s house in Costa Azul was reportedly attacked by armed men, who kidnapped four persons and left five others wounded. In Zihuatanejo, a PRD sympathizer was beaten with an iron rod by a group of unidentified youths. Isolated incidents of vote buying and ballot box theft also resulted in complaints.

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