Uncertainty concerning the outcome of Chapala’s mayoral race went up a notch this week as legal representatives of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and Morena revealed that Jalisco’s Electoral Tribunal (TEEJ) is considering their suits demanding the annulment of the July 1 election.
New allegations of multiple election irregularities could be grounds to invalidate the final vote tally that was rubber stamped by the Jalisco Electoral Institute (IEPC). These new claims come on top of three previous challenges registered on behalf of Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) candidate Alejandro Aguirre.
The IEPC validated the local election in favor of Movimiento Ciudadano (MC) candidate Moisés Anaya with a 47-vote victory over Aguirre. The PAN’s legal team disputed that call, as well as the initial vote tally registered by the municipal election council that gave Anaya at 99-vote edge, as well as a recount conducted by the district election council that cut the difference down to a slimmer margin.
The three-pronged tactic is apparently aimed at canceling out the results registered at various polling stations where anomalies were observed, a move that would swing the tally in Aguirre’s favor.
The PRI/Morena strategy seeks to persuade the TEEJ to annul the election and order a new contest.
The two parties’ legal arguments are based primarily on irregularities detected at 50 out of Chapala’s 62 polling stations, including improper handling of ballot packages and the disappearance of fundamental election day documents such as actas registering poll openings and closings and lists of observations from poll watchers appointed by each political party.
The tribunal must rule on all the suits on or before September 10. Organizing a repeat election, however, could take up to two months. This is well beyond the October 1 date for the 2018-2020 municipal administration to take office.
In that case, the Jalisco state legislature would appoint an interim mayor to govern the municipality on a temporary basis.
It would be a messy affair, but PRI Chapala’s legal representative Antonio Bernabé Manzano Uribe insists that a second, cleaner election would be the best way to ensure that the democratic process is being upheld in the municipality.
So far, “mayor-elect” Anaya has not established a position on the situation.