Mexico’s leftist leader seeks fraud probe

Mexico’s leftist leader seeks fraud probe

MEXICO CITY - Agence France-Presse
Mexico’s leftist leader seeks fraud probe

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (C) rejects Nieto’s ‘fraudulent’ victory. AP photo

The runner-up in Mexico’s presidential election has rejected Enrique Pena Nieto’s “fraudulent” victory, raising the specter of protests that rocked Mexico City when he lost six years ago.

When Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lost the 2006 presidential election by less than one percent he claimed fraud and organized mass protests that paralyzed Mexico City for more than a month. The first official results from July 1’s vote showed Lopez Obrador with 31 percent of the vote against 38 percent for Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) -- a much wider margin than six years ago. “We cannot accept a fraudulent result, nobody can accept that,” Lopez Obrador, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) said at a press conference, decrying the vote as a “filthy ... national embarrassment.”

The PRI was synonymous with the Mexican state as it governed for seven decades until 2000 using a mixture of pervasive patronage, selective repression, rigged elections and widespread bribery. Lopez Obrador claimed the PRI, through its national party and governors, spent millions of pesos buying votes. He also charged that the news media heavily favored the PRI and that the party shattered campaign spending limits.

Flu epidemic alarm

Meanwhile, the Mexican government declared a national animal health emergency in the face of an aggressive bird flu epidemic that has infected nearly 1.7 million poultry.

More than half the infected birds have died or been culled, the agriculture ministry said of an epidemic that was confirmed on June 29 by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).