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Election Protesters Rally in Mexico City

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By MARK STEVENSON
The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 12:06 AM

MEXICO CITY -- Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador led thousands of protesters outside Mexico's top electoral court on Monday to demand a total recount in the presidential election, warning that he would start a long-term radical movement if the court did not agree.

The demonstration comes two days after the Federal Electoral Tribunal ruled that it would only recount ballots at about 9 percent of the nation's 130,000 polling places, where it said there was evidence that the vote may have been miscounted.

Lopez Obrador wants the court to recount all of the 41 million votes cast in the July 2 vote and warned there would be consequences if it didn't agree.

"What is going to happen if they ratify this imposition?" he said in an angry, somewhat hoarse voice to about 5,000 followers.

"Revolution!" his supporters replied with their fists in the air.

"We are going to start a movement for the transformation of the nation's institutions," Lopez Obrador said. "We are going to transform our country, and this is going to happen one way or the other."

Carrying banners with slogans, such as "No Damn Fraud," and chanting, "Vote by vote, poll by poll!" the crowd blocked traffic on a boulevard outside the court.

"This is just the start of much stronger actions," said Jose Antonio Valles, a 52-year-old engineer at the protest.

An official count of the election gave ruling party candidate Felipe Calderon an advantage of 0.6 percent, or about 240,000 votes, over Lopez Obrador.

The leftist candidate claims that a ballot-by-ballot recount would show he was the true winner.

"We do not accept a partial recount. The Mexican people do not want only part of the truth," Lopez Obrador told the protesters outside the court.

The court's seven judges are unlikely to be swayed. They voted unanimously for a partial recount that will begin Wednesday and last no longer than five days. They have until Sept. 6 to declare a president-elect or annul the race.


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