Mexico's PRI to be declared winner of presidential election

  Mexelex
MEXICO CITY -- Finally, Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for seven decades, on Friday were on the brink of being declared the formal winners of July's presidential election, following a court ruling that rejected a raft of complaints about the vote.

Mexico's highest electoral tribunal on Thursday night dismissed claims brought primarily by leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that accused the PRI of buying votes and colluding with the country's major broadcaster to obtain biased pro-Peña Nieto coverage.

In rejecting the complaints because of what it described as insufficient evidence, the tribunal validated the results of the July 1 vote, which gave Peña Nieto an advantage of 6.6 percentage points over Lopez Obrador.

On Friday, Lopez Obrador reacted defiantly, saying he could not accept the judgment of a court "hostage" to the "corrupt forces destroying Mexico."

"The elections were not clean, free or authentic," he said in a morning meeting with journalists. He declared there would be "no truce," that he would not recognize power obtained through vote-buying, and that he would gather his supporters to the Zocalo, Mexico City's massive central square, on Sept. 9 to protest.

His comments were reminiscent of 2006, when Lopez Obrador lost the presidential election by the tiniest of margins. Protests then paralyzed the city and roiled the nation for months.

PRI officials, meanwhile, were celebrating the court's decision, which they said "legitimized" the party's victory. Groups of students and others protested outside the court's offices; El Universal has video here.

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-- Tracy Wilkinson

Photo: Protesters shout slogans outside offices of Mexican Electoral Tribunal where the court on Thursday was rejecting complaints filed against the July 1 presidential vote. Credit: Yuri Cortez / AFP / Getty Images 

 
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