Amid growing signs that a partial recount won't change enough votes to make him president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador unveiled a new victory strategy: he wants the court to throw out results from nearly 5,000 polling places.
"Annulling [the results] from these polling places would change the balance of the election, and would mean that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would be the winner," Claudia Sheinbaum, the leftist candidate's top campaign aide, said on Saturday
She said the request will be filed soon with the Federal Electoral Tribunal, which is overseeing the partial recount and must resolve all challenges to the July 2 elections by the end of this month.
Parties involved in the recount say elections officials have found extra ballots in some ballot boxes, and in other cases have failed to account for all blank ballots distributed to polling places. Sheinbaum said this suggests "a concerted operation" to distort the vote count in favor of conservative Felipe Calderon, who led by less than one percent in the official -- but still uncertified -- vote count.
"These criminals thought it was going to be easy, `we took his victory away and he's going to cross his arms and do nothing,'" Lopez Obrador said in the Pacific coast city of Tonala in southern Chiapas State.
"Well, no, I'm not going to just wait with my arms crossed," he said.
Elections for governor will be held in Chiapas on next Sunday, and the candidate for Lopez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party faces a de-facto alliance between Calderon's party and the old ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Chiapas is split by religious, ethnic and political divisions, and is the home to the Zapatista rebel movement, which staged a brief armed uprising in 1994 to demand greater Indian rights.
Representatives of Calderon's conservative National Action Party insisted on Friday that no major problems or variations in the vote have surfaced with more than 75 percent of the count completed.
The polling places that were to be challenged by Lopez Obrador's party were mainly ones where Calderon got more votes, and would represent almost 4 percent of Mexico's voting places, a figure that could rise if more alleged irregularities are found in the recount, which was on track to conclude yesterday.
Lopez Obrador has said he doesn't want the entire election thrown out, but Sheinbaum said the tribunal might choose to do that, or to order a complete recount of all 41 million votes cast, rather than the current recount of 9 percent of ballot boxes with evident problems.