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In August, 2002, the Mexican Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB), together with the Fundación Este Pais, published the results of a national survey aimed at evaluating the culture and political practices of Mexicans.[1] According to the survey, 45% of the surveyed expressed the belief that neither the citizens nor the authorities respected the law. Moreover, 71% of the surveyed replied “no” to the question “Do you believe that the people should obey the laws, even if they are unjust? To another question, 58% answered affirmatively to the question “Do you believe that the people can disobey a law if it is unjust? [2]

Four years after the publication of this survey, the presidential candidate of the leftist coalition “Por el Bien de Todos” (For the Good of All) in the 2006 elections, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), was sworn in as the “Legitimate President of Mexico” in downtown Mexico City.[3] In this act, Lopez Obrador and his followers called for the formation of a parallel government to shadow that of Felipe Calderon who was sworn in as President on December 1, 2006 following an extremely difficult and widely questioned electoral process.

[1] Conociendo a los Ciudadanos Mexicanos: Principales Resultados de la Encuesta nacional sobre Cultura Política y Prácticas Ciudadanas, Este País magazine, 2-30, 137, August, 2002.


[3] This occurred following a sit-in, termed by the coalition as the permanent assembly (asamblea permanente), that lasted over 40 days during which AMLO´s (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) followers blocked, with buses and tents, the Zocalo of Mexico City, the adjacent main streets (Madero, Juarez) and Reforma Avenue, one of the main avenues in the city, to pressure the Electoral Tribunal to order the opening of all the urns and a recount of the ballots emitted during the 2 of July election. “Vote by Vote” was the slogan of the protesters during this period.

For further information on the 2006 elections and the post-electoral conflict, see Alejandra Lajous, Confrontación de Agravios: la Postelección de 2006, 2007.


Paper delivered at SELA 2007, Law and Culture, in Puerto Rico, as part of the panel on “The Interplay of Law and Culture: Violence,” and subsequently published in the University of Puerto Rico Law Review. The paper is available in English and Spanish but because of subsequent revision and editorial changes, the Spanish version is definitive.