Officials Declare Final Winner of Mexico Vote
Mexico’s highest electoral authority declared Friday that Enrique Pena Nieto was the legitimate winner of the country’s July 1 presidential election, formally opening the transition to a new government despite continuing claims of fraud by the second-place candidate of the left.
The Federal Electoral Tribunal said leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had failed to prove claims that vote-buying had affected the results of the vote returning Mexico’s former autocratic ruling party to the country’s highest office after a 12-year absence.
Lopez Obrador told reporters Friday morning that he refused to recognize the results of the election and was calling for a peaceful protest that he described as “civil disobedience” on Sept. 9 in the Zocalo, the historic plaza in the heart of downtown Mexico City. He launched street demonstrations that paralyzed central Mexico City after he lost the 2006 vote, but widespread protests appear far less likely this time.
Lopez Obrador said the electoral tribunal made an illegitimate ruling Thursday evening when it rejected the leftist’s allegations of vote-buying and other campaign violations in favor of Pena Nieto, the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. The seven electoral magistrates are nominated by Mexico’s Supreme Court and confirmed by Congress and are widely seen as credible and non-partisan, although Lopez Obrador has alleged that several members were based in favor of the PRI.
“I am telling the people of Mexico that I cannot accept the judgment of the electoral tribunal that declared the presidential election valid,” Lopez Obrador told a news conference. “The elections were not clean, free and genuine. As a result, I will not recognize an illegitimate power that’s emerged as a result of vote-buying and other grave violations of the constitution and the law.