President Vicente Fox on Monday promised Mexico's cleanest elections ever, while his spokesman branded as "traitors" those who claim the government is violating a Mexican political taboo by interfering in the campaign.
In a nationally televised address Monday, Fox insisted that the July 2 ballot will be free of electoral shenanigans, responding to accusations from opposition leaders that his party might interfere with the vote count.
"I will do everything in my power to make sure the results of the election faithfully reflect the political will of the majority of Mexicans," Fox said.
In a news conference earlier, Fox's spokesman Ruben Aguilar responded fiercely to those who have questioned Fox's democratic credentials.
The parties "who try and destabilize the electoral process are traitors to democracy and traitors to the Mexican people," Aguilar said.
Fox ended 71 years of one-party rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, when he took office in 2000. The constitution prevents re-election.
Felipe Caldron of Fox's conservative National Action Party is fighting a tight race against leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party.
Critics say Fox is boosting government spending on social programs to win votes, and is indirectly promoting Calderon in government-funded television spots and tours. Fox also has warned repeatedly against "populism," a clear reference to Lopez Obrador.
Lopez Obrador has also suggested that Fox could interfere with the vote count on election day.
Mexican laws restrict presidents from direct involvement in campaigns to replace them, a policy that emerged as a backlash against the PRI's long history of having presidents select their successors and rigging elections to ensure they won.
Reforms gradually ended those practice by the early 1990s, paving the way for the election of Fox, who promised a new era of democracy and transparency.
Last week, Lopez Obrador joined with PRI candidate Roberto Madrazo to fight what they called "an election of the state" or government-controlled election. They have threatened to sue Fox for his intervention.
Aguilar said Monday that it was the PRI who meddled in Mexico's elections during its seven decades in power.
"Today there are safety checks to stop this from happening," he said, reports AP.
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