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Mexico presidential candidate calls for full recount of ballots in close race

[JURIST] Claiming that some ballots were counted twice and others not at all because of fraud, Mexico's Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) [party website, in Spanish] is demanding a full recount of votes in last weekend's presidential election. Preliminary results [JURIST report] showed the PRD's candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador [campaign website, in Spanish; Wikipedia profile], trailing Felipe Calderon [campaign website, in Spanish; Wikipedia profile], of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) [party website], by about 1 percent of the 41 million votes counted. Leonel Cota, president of the PRD, vowed on Tuesday to "launch a battle for the legitimacy of the election," and a coalition of the PRD and two other parties held a press conference [transcript, in Spanish] and issued a statement [text, in Spanish] that questioned the system used to compile the preliminary results, known as PREP [official backgrounder]. The president of Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) [official website, in Spanish] cast doubt on the prospects of a full recount, saying that the sealed ballots could be reopened only in "exceptional cases" and that the preliminary count had been done in the presence of the parties. Mexican election laws [PDF text, in Spanish] permit a manual recount only if the ballot packages have been unsealed or if the initial tallies are faulty.

Also on Tuesday, elections officials said that 3 million ballots that Lopez Obrador had described as "missing" had not been counted because of irregularities. The officials said those votes - which would reduce Calderon's lead to 0.64 percent - will be included in the overall count if deemed valid. Local election officials were to count remaining valid ballots [IFE press release] and review the initial tally beginning on Wednesday. AP has more. El Universal has local coverage, in Spanish.

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