Videos show Mexico election was rigged, claims Obrador
By David Usborne
12 July 2006
The Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has produced what he says is "irrefutable" video evidence of electoral fraud. The left-wing candidate, declared the loser by a razor-thin margin after elections on 2 July, filed a formal complaint of fraud and widespread irregularities and called for new street protests.
Mr Lopez Obrador, the populist leader of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, lodged his lawsuit to the federal electoral tribune late on Monday and screened two videos that he said demonstrated ballot stuffing.
The main stock market in Mexico City posted losses of nearly 2 per cent yesterday, as investors reacted in part to hints that he may not give up his battle, even if the tribune rejected his lawsuit.
A second tabulation of the results released last week seemed to confirm that Felipe Calderon, the Harvard-educated candidate of the ruling National Action Party, had won by just 243,000 votes of the 41 million cast.
Observers from the European Union have judged that the election was fair, and some world leaders have offered their congratulations to Mr Calderon.
Yet the uncertainty created by Mr Lopez Obrador seems set to last for weeks. He is demanding a nationwide recount. The tribune has until 31 August to rule.
Under Mexican law, recounts can only be ordered on a precinct-by-precinct basis, where clear evidence exists of count problems. The tribune could call new elections.
At a press conference, Mr Lopez Obrador screened two shaky, amateur videos. One purported to show a supporter of Mr Calderon stuffing a ballot box in Guanajuato. The ballots in question were for the parallel election held for members of Congress, however. The second was said to show an electoral official refusing to recount a ballot box that favoured Mr Calderon.
The Lopez Obrador team has turned in a catalogue of claims filling 800 pages.
However, Cesar Nava, an official of Mr Calderon's party, said the claims were "just noise-making".