Mexico’s leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged courts this week to order a full recount of July 2 presidential vote, after the national electoral tribunal agreed to verify only a fraction of the challenged ballots. The former candidate of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), who lost by less than 0.6 percent to conservative ruling party candidate Felipe Calderon, said that the courts had “an historic duty” to reconsider “the rigged vote”.
"Our institutions cannot remain subject to the power of money, to those who think they own Mexico," Lopez Obrador told several thousand supporters gathered in the rain outside the electoral court offices in Mexico City. "We are living an historic moment because it is up to us to change that. If we permit it we will be accepting a simulated democracy, a democracy of lies," he said.
As the former mayor of the Mexican capital says that he would not give up on his demand for a recount of all 41 million votes cast, his supporters have paralyzed the center of the city in a campaign of civil disobedience initiated two weeks ago. The leftist leader vowed to deepen even further the campaing after he suffered a setback on Saturday when the top electoral court ordered a recount at only 9 percent of polling stations beginning on Wednesday.
Lopez Obrador said the decision was short-sighted and the court should reconsider it. "It is a narrow vision that does not take into account the historic social demands of our people," he said. "The judges must not let pass the historic opportunity to vindicate our institutions."
A majority of Mexicans living in the capital support the campaign to overturn the election, but some voices against it can be heard in the wealthiest areas of the city. The demonstrations have been peaceful, but Mexico has beefed up security at Mexico City's airport, power plants and oil refineries in case the protest spin out of control.
The winning candidate, Felipe Calderon, asked PRD supporters to calm down and admit they have lost to him. The incumbent President, Vicente Fox, repudiated the campaign but refused to take part in the controversy.
The court must decide by Sept. 6 who is the definitive winner of the vote.
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