Runner-up in Mexico poll says it was rigged
Claiming that the elections were not “free and fair”, Lopez Obrador will ask for election results to be tossed out.
Lawyers for the runner-up in Mexico’s presidential election have said that he will ask the electoral tribunal to void the results, arguing that the winner violated campaign finance laws to buy votes.
“In our opinion, with all of the violations that we have seen, it is impossible to describe these elections as free and fair,” said Ricardo Mejia, the spokesman for Lopez Obrador’s legal team preparing the challenge, on Thursday.
Left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador came in 3.3 million votes behind Enrique Pena Nieto from the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), according to the official count from the July 1 vote.
But the former mayor of Mexico City, who also lost the 2006 presidential race by a narrower margin, says the campaign was rigged, with major media outlets skewing coverage to promote the telegenic Pena Nieto at the expense of the other parties.
Obrador’s legal team will claim before the electoral tribunal, known as the TRIFE, that Pena Nieto violated the constitutional protections for free elections, Mejia said.
In 2006, Lopez Obrador also refused to accept his loss to President Felipe Calderon by less than 1 per centage point.
Markets were rattled when his supporters staged weeks of disruptive protests, occupying the capital’s main boulevard.
This time markets have largely shrugged off the possibility of a drawn-out conflict and Pena Nieto is already naming advisers to work on his government’s transition.
“The markets have already priced in Enrique Pena Nieto winning. We don’t think this challenge will change anything,” said Virgilio Velazquez, at brokerage Intercam in Mexico City.
Pena Nieto, 45, will bring the PRI back to power after 12 years in opposition, reviving memories of the way it ruled Mexico for seven decades straight, often with authoritarian tactics to stifle political rivals and rig elections.
Lopez Obrador says the party has not changed its ways, and spent millions to buy building materials, food and pre-paid shopping cards to lure poor voters to the ballot boxes.
Pictured: Pena Nieto was pegged to win the race by double digits in opinion polls throughout [AP]