Mexico’s left challenges “fraudulent election” in courts

Tens of thousands rallied to support Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who went to the courts to invalidate presidential vote.

As US President George W. Bush rushes to congratulate conservative virtual winner of July 2 elections and the European Union asks for calm, the Mexico’s leftist opposition filled the capital’s main square to support Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador bid to challenge the presidential election’s results in courts. According to aides of the former Mexico’s city mayor, irregularities can be probed in the 300 electoral districts, which would constitute a “widespread fraud” to allow conservatives to hold power in this Latin American nation.

"The objective is to get the votes counted," Manuel Camacho Solis, an aide to Lopez Obrador, said at a district voting center in Mexico City where the files arrived in nine cardboard boxes. "We are confident. I think there is sufficient justification." Earlier, the Federal Electoral Institute denied allegations and any possible irregularities during the elections and in the votes counting.

Rene Miranda, an official in charge of the preliminary vote count, said the system was accurate and reliable. "It always reflected the reality of the country," he told a news conference. "It's impossible to do any kind of manipulation."

But many in Mexico do not trust in the Electoral Institute as they believe is being handled by the incumbent conservative president Vicente Fox, who has supported Felipe Calderon, the declared winner with a tiny 0.57 per cent lead.

Calderon declared victory last Monday as official returns showed him ahead of Lopez Obrador in an election that was initially too close to call. A recount of tally sheets briefly gave Lopez Obrador the advantage, but swung around to conclude that Calderon won by a hair's breadth.

Now, uncertainty reigns in Mexico as the definitive result still up in the air. The electoral court will have until Aug. 31 to rule on Lopez Obrador's challenge and until Sept. 6 to formally declare the election winner.

The last minute change in the lead during the votes counting, was the source of many suspects about the way the federal government controlled the elections. Mexico's left still remembers a 1988 election widely believed to have been stolen from them by the Institutional Revolutionary Party that ruled for most of the last century.

By that time the pro-market candidate, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, defeated the leftist leader Cuahutemoc Cardenas, leading to weeks of unrest across the country.

Hernan Etchaleco

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov