mardi, décembre 05, 2006

Actualité - Unusual Inauguration

Only the national anthem was able to impose fleeting silence Friday on the war of insults thrown between governing party and opposition forces in the Mexican Congress during the inauguration of Felipe Calderon. The brief formal act at which the new executive received the presidential band from exiting President Vicente Fox developed in an uncontrollable jabbering of slogans and the massive use of whistles by deputies of the opposing PRD (Democratic Revolution) party.

The new head of state was only heard to say a brief swearing-in, the first time there had been no traditional speech in which the president presents his action program to the Legislature and nation at the beginning of his six-year term.

Governing PAN legislators (National Action Party) and the PRD opposition have permanently occupied the Legislature for the last two days, the latter to prevent Calderon from swearing-in and the others to allow him to do it.

The 48 hours prior to today's session began with a physical contest, broken by a 24 hour truce that today degenerated again into pushing and shoving between representatives of the PRD trying to prevent Calderon and Fox from entering the hall and PAN affiliates trying to let them in.

There was a moment when PRD controlled three of the four entrances to the chamber with barricades made from the seats of their part of Congress.

Finally, Calderon and Fox had to gain the podium through a back door, protected by a strong security cordon formed by 200 presidential guards dressed in dark suits and red ties.

His political adversaries received Calderon, 47, with insults like "illegitimate president" and yelled that his victory was due to election fraud. Those of PAN yelled back their slogan of "si se pudo" (it was possible).

Although deputies for the parties supporting leading opposition leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador were absent from the transfer, others kept his slogan alive, "Obrador it's an honor to be with you." PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) deputies made the quorum necessary to hold this special session.

Meanwhile, foreign visitors invited to the ceremony, headed by ex-President George Bush (father) and the Prince of Asturias, Felipe de Borbon, were not in evidence as they were located in the two high balconies of Congress protected by heavy security.

The building itself, surrounded by a 9-foot high metallic fence guarded by thousands of police, looked more like a replica of the film "Siege" than a peaceful Legislature.

A peaceful march of hundreds of Lopez Obrador supporters, led by AMLO himself, followed central Reforma Avenue to the Chapultepec woods, to demonstrate in front of the National Auditorium where Calderon was to deliver his first speech as president before thousands of guests.

Mexican journalists and reporters from several countries consulted by Prensa Latina in the area dedicated to the press, said they had never seen such a sorrowful and unusual presidential transfer as the one that took place in Mexico this Friday.

(Prensa Latina News Agency)

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