by Michael Tangeman BISHOP Manuel Talamas Camandari of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has warned his government that any kind of electoral fraud "will have as its • consequence frustration among the public". The bishop also
asked the Mexican government,
which has been charged with election wrongdoing by opposition parties, to "remember its offer to respect the vote" of the July 7 gubernatorial and legislative elections. Official election results on July 14 awarded the governing Revolutionary Institutional Party 67 per cent of the vote. The party lost only four of its 300 seats in the 400-member Chamber of Deputies and won all seven state governors' races.
Before the results were released, a spokesman for the Mexican bishops' conference said the small number of reported irregularities at the nation's 53,000 polling stations was encouraging. Francisco Ramirez Mesa, executive secretary of the conference's Commission on Social Communications, said the manner in which the elections were carried out showed "an adequate progress in Mexican democracy."
Before the elections, bishops in northern Mexico had issued statements denouncing electoral fraud and corruption. Critics said the prelates were setting the stage for claims of fraud by the National Action Party, popularly considered the standard-bearer for conservative elements within the church.
Charges of fraud are being made by that party's supporters
and supporters of other opposition groups. Mexico's election commission has said it would review allegations in the northern state of Sonora.
Six southern Mexican bishops have urged the rich to share
more than their "leftovers" with the poor. In a pastoral letter titled Evangelisation and Worldly Goods, the bishops said that "all have their origins in God and have been made for the service of man, and the rich are only administrators of those goods."
I he 18-page document is believed to be the first in the
Mexican church to be directed specifically at the upper and upper-middle classes. The six dioceses are in the southern Pacific region, characterised by widespread poverty among the campesino population.
The bishops have been outspoken on what they see as unjust economic structures in the region.