Cablegate: Felipe Calderon Wins Pan Primary

R 242102Z OCT 05


E.O. 12958: N/A

B. MEXICO 6089
C. MEXICO 6415

1. Summary: Former Energy Secretary Felipe Calderon won
PAN,s third regional primary election on Sunday, October 23
with 58 percent of the vote, and avoided a run-off election
by winning just over 50 percent of the cumulative vote. Both
former Interior Secretary Santiago Creel, once thought to be
the favorite, and former Environmental Secretary Alberto
Cardenas, conceded Sunday night and encouraged their
followers to support Calderon. End Summary.

2. Calderon won 13 of the 14 states that voted in the October
23 primary, taking home 58 percent of the vote. Totaling all
three regional primary elections, Calderon won 24 of
Mexico,s 31 states and 51.79 percent of the vote. Santiago
Creel, reputedly President Fox,s favorite, won 24 percent of
the vote in the third election and 32.29 percent of the
cumulative vote. Alberto Cardenas proved victorious only his
home state of Jalisco, and won only 15.91 percent of the
cumulative vote. Over 300,000 Panistas voted in the three
primary elections, including almost 200 members of the PAN
living outside of Mexico who voted by internet, with 112 of
those votes going to Calderon.

3. Both Creel and Cardenas gave press conferences on the
evening of October 23 admitting defeat and encouraging their
followers to support Calderon. The PAN,s electoral
committee, however, received six complaints about
irregularities in the third primary including a voting
station that did not open in Michoacan, and unauthorized
transportation being provided to voters in Morelos, Guerrero
and Sonora. The electoral committee is investigating the
complaints, but their results are not expected to affect the
outcome of the election. Immediately following the second
regional primary on October 2, the results from two voting
stations in the Yucatan, where less than 400 people cast
their ballots, were questioned by the Creel camp due to
complaints of irregularities. These votes were annulled the
day before the third primary after an investigation by the
PAN's electoral committee. Creel,s supporters challenged
the results of 45 voting stations in the Yucatan, where
Calderon obtained over 70 percent of the vote.

4. Comment: The PAN leadership is priding itself on being
the only major political party to hold transparent and
democratic primary elections. PRD candidate Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has no competition for his party's
nomination. The PRI's brief-lived primary was marked by
mud-slinging and character assassination, prompting one
contender to leave the race and the second may well do so
before a single primary ballot is cast. This would leave
former PRI president Roberto Madrazo as the "unity"
candidate, and settle the major-party line-up for 2006.

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