Lozoya said the cards were purchased by the government of the State of Mexico and given to recipients as part of a social-
welfare program. Other prepaid cards were distributed through the Confederation of Mexican Workers. He said the rumor that the cards were given to people by the PRI in exchange for their votes was being spread by the party of the second-place finisher, Lopez Obrador.
Until now, the president-elect and his party have been more focused on the vote count, and not on the allegations of vote-buying and coercion.
“We are calm because we won the election, and if we recount the votes, we will win again,” Luis Videgaray, a top campaign official for Peña Nieto, said on Mexican radio.
Videgaray said Lopez Obrador and other critics “should stop fighting the arithmetic.”
A recount of more than half of the ballots is underway, and the IFE said it is looking into the fraud allegations.
Mexico’s ruling National Action Party (PAN) has not challenged the results, but the Lopez Obrador campaign said it had detected irregularities at 114,000 of the country’s 143,000 polling stations and was amassing evidence of widespread vote-buying and other forms of cheating.
“This election was a national embarrassment,” Lopez Obrador said.
The leftist also had alleged fraud during the presidential race in 2006, when he lost to Calderon by half a percentage point. His protesters staged demonstrations that carried on for months.
The allegations of vote-buying undermine the narrative pushed by Peña Nieto that he belongs to a new, more honest and transparent generation that has renounced the coercion, threats and dirty tricks of its elders, “the dinosaurs” of the old PRI who delivered the vote and kept people in line.
“If Lopez Obrador can prove that PRI engaged in serious and systematic buying and coercion of the vote, then it would call into question the validity of the results — no matter what the vote count is,” said Eric Olson, associate director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. Olson was in Mexico City to monitor the election.