MEXICO: Electoral court rejects fraud claim


Claims by left-leaning presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of massive fraud in the July 2 election have been rejected by Mexico's electoral court. The original results had Lopez Obrador losing by just 0.58% to right-wing candidate Felipe Calderon. The court argued that the altered results after a partial recount in 9% of polling places were too minor to affect the outcome. The opposition had been demanding a full recount of the vote, staging huge demonstrations, one of which was more than two-million strong. Electoral fraud and corruption within state institutions have a long history in Mexico. Although the electoral tribunal has until September 6 to declare a winner, the court's decision has put an end to any lingering hopes of a further recount or an annulment of the election. The occupation of central Mexico City to protest the fraud continues and President Vicente Fox's last state-of-the-nation address on September 1 was cancelled when opposition MPs stormed the stage. Protests are also planned for Calderon's December 1 inauguration. A convention has been called for September 16 to decide the direction for the campaign, which may include setting up an alternative government.