Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Defeated Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he has "irrefutable" video proof of voting fraud by his election rivals.

Fraud video claim in Mexico poll

Defeated Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he has "irrefutable" video proof of voting fraud by his election rivals.

"I am certain the people are not going to permit this abuse," Mr Lopez Obrador said, repeating a demand for a recount.

Official results show his rival Felipe Calderon won by 0.57 percentage points.

Mr Lopez Obrador has filed a legal challenge and says he will wait to see the court's ruling before deciding if he will accept the result.

Amateur video

Conservative candidate Felipe Calderon secured 35.88% of the 2 July vote, against 35.31% for Mr Lopez Obrador.

The latter's 900-page claim alleges some polling areas had more votes than registered voters and that his opponent overspent on his campaign.


Among his other complaints, Mr Lopez Obrador says a computer software programme skewed the initial count of votes.

He has asked the electoral tribunal to order a full manual recount of all the ballots.

The shaky amateur video footage aired at Mr Lopez Obrador's campaign headquarters showed two incidents which he claimed were examples of "old-style fraud". He said that that they had been sent in by some of his supporters.

One tape, filmed in Queretaro state during a recount of votes for the presidential election, showed what seemed to be an election official refusing to recount the ballots in a box which had been declared in favour of Mr Calderon.

The other showed an alleged supporter of Mr Calderon's National Action Party (Pan) apparently stuffing six ballots into a box being used for congressional elections, which were held on the same day as the presidential race.

Border clash

The EU said last week its monitors had found no indication of irregularities.

Mr Lopez Obrador's supporters say they intend to visit foreign embassies in Mexico City to demand that their governments not congratulate Mr Calderon.

A number of international leaders, including US President George W Bush have already congratulated Mr Calderon on his success.

On Monday, White House spokesman Tony Snow defended Mr Bush's decision to call Mr Calderon on Thursday.

Although he did say that if a Mexican court ruling changed who won the election, Mr Bush would respect that.

Mr Calderon's relationship with the US got off to a rocky start on Friday when he criticised US plans to beef up security on the US-Mexico border, saying that it was better to invest in Mexico than to build a wall along the border to stop illegal immigrants.

Mr Snow rejected that criticism on Monday, saying that Mr Calderon did not have any authority over the activities of the US government.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/07/11 04:28:57 GMT