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After Fraud Allegations, Mexico Orders Presidential Recount

Common Dreams staff

An electoral worker recounts votes at a district office of Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (Photo: REUTERS)

Mexico is recounting more than half the ballots that were cast during Sunday's presidential election, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) said on Wednesday.

Of the 143,000 ballot boxes used during Sunday's vote, 78,012 will be opened and the votes recounted, said Edmundo Jacobo, executive secretary of Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute.

The action follows reports of vote-buying, stuffed boxes, and voter intimidation by supporters of Enrique Peña Nieto, candidate of the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who declared himself winner early in the week after preliminary results were released.

His leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, however, refuses to concede and the student-led movement known as #YoSoy132, which staged large street protests against corruption and political media-bias throughout the campaign, has also raised its voice against the legitimacy of the poll results.

Daniel Avila, a representative for the anti-Peña Nieto student movement #YoSoy132 (I am 132), told CNN en Español that his group had already received 1,100 allegations of vote buying, stuffed ballot boxes and intimidation.

The group has photos, video and audio proof of these violations, it told CNN.

"What we're going to try to do is find all these people to get testimonies, and then take that evidence to the IFE," Avila said.

Lopez Obrador's campaign called for a vote-by-vote recount at every polling place. In addition, according to the Los Angeles Times, the campaign said it would send scores of complaints of vote-tampering and vote-buying to Mexico's electoral tribunal.

"What we are demanding is that the electoral authorities ... assume their responsibility," Lopez Obrador said.

YoSoy132, after staging long street processions on Monday in protest of Peña Nieto's declaration of victory, held an all-day assembly at the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) on Wednesday to decide how it would proceed after the apparent Peña Nieto victory.

Most acknowledged that Peña Nieto would ultimately be declared the winner, but that this troublesome fact would not deter them from speaking out against corruption and fraud.

"The amount of evidence we present does not matter. It is a fact that Enrique Peña Nieto will remain," Avila said. "We have had a position since before the election that this was being imposed by fraud, and it's what we've been seeing."

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