Photo: Protesting electoral fraud
More than half of the ballots cast in last weekend’s presidential election will be recounted, a much higher percentage than initial estimates, Mexican elections officials said Wednesday.
Some 54.5 percent of the elections packages, which were received from 78,012 polling places, “will be opened and recounted under full security,” Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, executive secretary Edmundo Jacobo said.
The figure exceeds the initial estimate released Tuesday by the IFE of 45,000 to 50,000 packages, representing one-third of the ballots cast at the nearly 143,000 polling places established for the general elections.
Recounts can be done for a number of reasons, including when there is a difference equal to or less than 1 percent separating the winner and the second-place finisher, when there are errors on ballots or when the number of void ballots is greater than the difference between the victor and the candidate who came in second.
The announcement came a few hours after the IFE began the official count of the ballots from Sunday’s general elections.
Some 61.3 percent of the ballots cast in federal Senate elections and 60.3 percent of the ballots for races for the lower house of Congress will be recounted, Jacobo said.
The vote count for the presidential election is expected to be completed at 9:10 a.m. on Thursday, the IFE official said.
The count, however, will be subject to challenge by the political parties, with the final decision being made by electoral courts.
The IFE agreed early Wednesday to change its interpretation of the law to expand the number of ballots subject to recount.
Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, candidate Enrique Peña Nieto won the presidency based on the preliminary figures released on Monday by the IFE.
Peña Nieto garnered 38.14 percent of the vote, while leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took second place with 31.64 percent, according to the final preliminary results.
Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor who was the standard-bearer of a leftist coalition led by the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, said in a press conference Monday that he would not accept “fraudulent results.”
Lopez Obrador lost the 2006 presidential election to Felipe Calderon, of the National Action Party, or PAN, by 0.56 percent and has never recognized the results, claiming victory in that contest.
Peña Nieto remained in the lead on Wednesday as the official count was conducted, garnering 39.12 percent of the vote, to Lopez Obrador’s 30.28 percent, with 34.5 percent of the ballots counted, the IFE said in its 1:31 p.m. bulletin.