Runner-up in Mexican election contests results
MEXICO CITY – The runner-up in Mexico’s presidential election has said he will ask election authorities to recount the votes from Sunday’s contest, alleging it was riddled with fraud.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador (58), who finished about 6.5 percentage points behind president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto (45) of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), said the election had been corrupted by PRI vote-buying and other abuses.
Stirring up memories of the 2006 election, when he refused to accept defeat and unsettled financial markets by calling out his supporters to stage massive demonstrations in the capital for weeks, Mr López Obrador followed through on hints he dropped during the campaign that he might contest the result. He said his campaign would ask the federal electoral institute to recount the votes.
“We’re going to ask them to clean up the election and make it transparent,” he said. “For the good of the democracy and the good of the country, they need to count all the votes.”
Financial markets were unmoved by his announcement on Tuesday. Mr López Obrador has repeatedly accused the telegenic Mr Peña Nieto of using illicit funding, breaching campaign spending limits and being supported by Mexico’s mainstream media. “It’s a national embarrassment how the PRI’s leaders and their sponsors have acted, and the totally immoral way in which Enrique Peña Nieto has behaved,” he said.
The PRI denies the accusations. Mr Peña Nieto’s win on Sunday will return the PRI to power after 12 years in opposition when he takes office in December.
The PRI governed Mexico between 1929 and 2000, a rule that was blighted by frequent accusations of vote-rigging and corruption. The electoral observation mission of the Organisation of American States said on Monday that “order had prevailed” during the election and labelled it a success.
Mr López Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City, also sought a recount when he narrowly lost the 2006 election to Mexican president Felipe Calderón and claimed he had been robbed.
Mr López Obrador’s campaign manager, Ricardo Monreal, said his team was asking for a recount of all the polling booths. Unlike in 2006, total recounts are now permitted if the circumstances meet certain criteria. These include a gap of 1 percentage point or less between candidates and when the number of void ballots is bigger than the gap. Neither was the case in this election and officials were still checking whether other criteria could be fulfilled.
In the previous election, Mr López Obrador was defeated by about half a percentage point, or fewer than 250,000 votes.
Preliminary results from Sunday’s poll show him lagging Mr Peña Nieto by more than three million votes. Mr Peña Nieto has already been congratulated on his win by Mr Calderón and US president Barack Obama.
Ricardo Espinoza, a political scientist at the Metropolitan Autonomous University, said Mr López Obrador’s announcement was unlikely to change the final election results and he did not expect the leftist to repeat the protests of 2006. – (Reuters)