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Mexico Candidate Claiming Election Fraud

Lopez Obrador has sought to stoke those fears. On Saturday, he accused the respected Federal Electoral Institute, held up as an example to emerging democracies around the world, of being a "pawn of the party of the right."

Over 100,000 supporters rallying in the capital's main plaza Saturday chanted "Vote by vote!"

Turning to his charges that Fox unfairly aided Calderon, Lopez Obrador said the popular president "dedicated himself to attacking us and ended up being a complete traitor of democracy."

Representatives for Fox and Calderon were not immediately available to comment. Fox has stayed out of the public eye for two weeks in an effort to avoid accusations that he was meddling in the debate.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, has said a software program was used to skew initial vote-count reports _ a charge that revives memories of the alleged computer crash that flipped Mexico's 1988 election in favor of the then-ruling PRI.

Legal challenges were built into Mexico's elections process in recent years to help ensure clean elections, so Calderon can't be declared president-elect until the electoral court weighs allegations of fraud or unfair campaign practices. The court has until Sept. 6 to declare a winner.

The law allows a manual recount only for polling places where credible evidence of irregularities exist. Lopez Obrador's supporters say that applies to at least 50,000 of the approximately 130,000 polling stations.

"We are going to ask that they clean up the elections. We are going to ask that they count all the votes, vote-by-vote, poll-by-poll," Lopez Obrador said.

Despite the EU monitoring team's characterization of the vote count as fair, the leftist claimed election fraud was worse than under the PRI, which often using fraud to hold power.

Calderon says the vote was clean and has taken congratulatory phone calls from President Bush and the leaders of Canada, Spain and Colombia, among others _ despite Lopez Obrador's plea for foreign governments to hold off on recognizing the result.

Lopez Obrador has repeatedly evaded questions about whether he would accept a court decision that went against him.

He provoked groans of disappointment from the crowd at the Zocalo in Mexico City when he told them not to block highways.

"This has been and goes on being a peaceful movement," he said. "We are not going to fall for any provocations."

Also Sunday, the Federal Electoral Institute wrapped up congressional vote tallies, determining the number of seats for each party.

According to National Action Party representative Jorge Zermeno, 206 seats in the 500-member lower house will go to Calderon's conservative party, 127 seats will go to Lopez Obrador's party, and 103 seats will go to the PRI. Minor parties have the 64 remaining seats.


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© 2006 The Associated Press