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Lopez Obrador Holds Rally, Calls for Civil Action to Protest Election

  • Susana Seijas

Thousands of people marched to Mexico City's main square in support of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is demanding a recount in the July 2 presidential election. Lopez Obrador, who lost the election by a narrow margin, has called on his supporters to hold peaceful demonstrations.

Two weeks after Mexicans went to the polls, the losing candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the Revolutionary Democratic Party, or P.R.D., held a mass rally on Sunday in Mexico City.

People from across the country marched to the city's main square, the Zocalo, to demand a vote-by-vote recount. The atmosphere was festive, with bands playing, firecrackers ripping through the sky, and parents singing and dancing with their children, waving yellow P.R.D. flags. Police and rally organizers estimate there were as many as 900 thousand marchers.

Sandra Perez, a 32-year-old teacher, was among the protesters.

"We want to stop this lie, this fraud. We didn't vote for Calderon, we voted for Lopez Obrador and we want to respect our vote. We want Lopez Obrador as president, we don't want Calderon," Perez says. "They are liars and they are thieves, all their families and all their people. They have broken our nation. They have stolen everything they can. Mexico cannot support this situation anymore.

Lopez Obrador has asked the Federal Electoral Tribunal to order a full recount of ballots because of irregularities and possible fraud in the vote counting. The tribunal has until September 6th to certify a winner.

The winning candidate, Felipe Calderon of the conservative National Action Party, won by fewer than 250.000 votes out of more than 41 million cast.

By law, Calderon cannot be declared president-elect until an electoral court deals with challenges to the election.

Calderon says there is no legal basis for a complete recount. He is busy building a transition team and preparing to take office on December 1.

Lopez Obrador told supporters Sunday that the count does not reflect the true election result.

Lopez Obrador says there are nearly a million and a half votes that are not accounted for in the electoral ballot.

He also said that to defend democracy he will begin a peaceful campaign of civil resistance. He asked his supporters to meet again on July 30 in the Zocalo. He promised to keep holding rallies until there is a complete recount.

Lopez Obrador says the stain of a fraudulent election cannot be erased nor counted with all the water in the oceans. He says that Mexico does not deserve a spurious president who has no moral or political authority.

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