Mexican ruling party accused by opposition of voting fraud

MEXICO CITY — MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's leading opposition parties accused the government yesterday of widespread vote fraud in Sunday's elections in the populous, industrialized state of Mexico.

[Hundreds of demonstrators calling for the end of Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) marched through the capital yesterday to protest the alleged fraud, Reuters reported.


["Death to the PRI" and "Death to electoral fraud" were among slogans chanted by an estimated 1,500 protesters as they marched on the Interior Ministry, snarling rush-hour traffic, Reuters reported.]

In an unusual joint announcement, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, leader of the center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), and Luis Alvarez, leader of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), accused officials of the PRI of adulterating the voter registration rolls by adding PRI supporters and "shaving off" opposition militants.


PAN and PRD officials also charged that the elections were marred by the burning of ballot boxes, by people being allowed to vote without presenting voter registration cards and by police support for "carousel operations" that allowed PRI supporters to vote several times at various booths.

PRI leaders responded that the accusations of fraud could not be proved.

The PRD called for annulment of the elections in the states of Mexico, Hidalgo and Coahuila. The PAN will file complaints of voting irregularities in 1,000 Mexico state precincts, party leaders said yesterday.

The PRI has declared victory, claiming wins in 117 of 121 mayoral contests and in all 34 directly elected congressional slots.

Those results have raised eyebrows across the political spectrum. The clean sweep would mean a near-total turnaround for the PRI in Mexico state, where in 1988 the victorious PRI presidential candidate, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, came in third, and the PRI lost both Senate seats to the center-left opposition.

Even PRI officials acknowledged irregularities in the recent balloting.