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Presidential election 'deja vu' in Mexico? (+video)

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The reaction of the nation to his refusal to concede defeat this time around – even after President Calderon and heads of state from around the globe congratulated Mr. Peña Nieto – is divided. Opinion pages are full of differing commentary. On the one hand, many accept a recount and are dismayed that allegations of vote-buying have marred the entire election process. YouTube videos condemning allegations of irregularities, such as voters being bussed into neighboring states, have spread across social media. This reaction speaks to lingering suspicions that the PRI in power means a return to the time when they held a singular grip on Mexican politics.

The PRI, which ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000, relied on vote-rigging and vote buying to hold onto power for more than 70 years. Now, they are facing criticism today for receiving biased media coverage and accused of handing out gift cards for a major supermarket chain in Mexico City in return for votes. The PRI has denied this.

The civil society group Civic Alliance says that the practice of vote-buying has increased since the group began monitoring the practice in 1994, according to a report they released on the race.

'Top notch' electoral system

And yet others have faulted Lopez Obrador for his widespread distrust of a system held up by experts as top notch. They say he simply cannot accept a democratic defeat. “He has never accepted results, and he is going to play this out and get people on the streets” says George Grayson, the author of a book on Lopez Obrador called “Mexican Messiah.”

Recounts are possible in Mexico if: inconsistencies in the final tally exist, a difference of 1 percent point or less exists between first and second place, or all the votes of one box go to a single candidate. Lopez Obrador, as in 2006, demanded a full recount, but electoral officials said they will only recount half of the ballot boxes. "This is an exercise in openness and transparency," Edmundo Jacobo, executive secretary of the electoral institute, said Wednesday.

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