July 4, 2012 / 2:44 PM / 8 years ago

Mexico election body gives recount decision to districts

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) said on Wednesday regional election authorities must decide whether to recount the votes from Sunday’s presidential election after the leftist runner-up alleged fraud and asked for a recount.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who finished about 6.5 percentage points behind the declared winner, Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), said on Tuesday the election had been corrupted by PRI vote-buying and other abuses.

His leftist coalition demanded a recount of all the votes, just as he did in 2006 when he narrowly lost the presidential election to sitting President Felipe Calderon.

After a late night meeting to address Lopez Obrador’s request, the IFE said each of the 300 electoral districts could order a recount if certain criteria stipulated by law were met.

These included evidence of errors or inconsistencies in the returns, when there was a gap of 1 percentage point or less between the first and second-placed candidates, when the number of void ballots was bigger than that gap, or when all votes had been cast for one party.

Lopez Obrador is due to speak later on Wednesday on how his leftist bloc will proceed with its challenge.

The former mayor of Mexico City, Lopez Obrador sought a recount in 2006 after losing to Calderon by about half a percentage point, claiming he had been robbed.

Unlike today, the law did not provide for a total recount and his request was rejected. Afterwards Lopez Obrador staged massive protests that clogged the capital for weeks.

The 2006 presidential race was much closer than in 2012 and analysts said on Tuesday they did not expect his demand for a recount to change the outcome of Sunday’s vote.

Sunday’s vote will return the PRI to power after 12 years in opposition, and the party has rejected Lopez Obrador’s claims. The PRI governed Mexico between 1929 and 2000, a rule that was blighted by frequent accusations of vote-rigging and corruption.

Reporting By Dave Graham; Editing by Sandra Maler

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