Elections were too close to call, according to the Federal Electoral Institute. Previous opinion polls said that the former leftist city mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, had a slight lead over his conservative opponent Felipe Calderon.
Mexico’s Sunday presidential election was too close to call and the country will have to wait a few days more for the official returns to know who will rule this Latin American nation for the next six years. Unofficial exit polls say that the race will be decided between the leftist former city mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and the conservative ruling party candidate, Felipe Calderon.
Observers believe that the extremely close vote could rise fears of a political crisis if any of the main candidates challenge the results and call street protests.
In an aired speech, the president of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), Luis Carlos Ugalde, announced at 11 p.m.local time that the margin between the first runner and the second one was too narrow to declare a winner. He did not mention who of the candidates were among the two most voted. Roberto Madrazo, from the traditional Institutional Revolutionary Party (or PRI by its initials in Spanish) has not lost hopes to be elected president.
Despite the announcement of the IFE, Lopez Obrador said that his party was “at least 500,000 votes ahead”. Leaders from his Party of the Democratic Revolution proclaimed him president elect of the country, but said they were respectful of the official results. Lopez Obrador supporters filled the Zocalo square in the capital, were the PRD party staged music shows to entertain the people.
Lopez Obrador campaigned on promises to end two decades of free-market reforms and pull millions out of poverty with welfare benefits and new jobs in ambitious infrastructure projects. Many of his supporters believe his the only one who can bring a new Mexican revolution where the poor are the ones who win. His efficient administration of the country’s capital made him the red-hot favorite for most of the campaign but Calderon closed the gap with aggressive TV ads painting his rival as a danger to Mexico's economic stability and linking him to Venezuela's anti-U.S. President Hugo Chavez.
Meanwhile, Calderon, a Harvard-educated lawyer and economist, has promised to create millions of jobs with pro-business reforms, more foreign investment and a boom in construction and housebuilding. As incumbent President Vicente Fox, also from the National Action Party, failed to deliver on his promises of rapid economic growth and millions of new jobs, Calderon had to made big efforts to convince electors that he was ready to do it.
Exit polls released by the local media outlets confirmed that left wing candidates were well ahead in the overpopulated capital and the State of Mexico, as the conservatives had won in the interior of the country.
According to official returns, up to 60 percent of the 71 million voters registered went to the polls to cast their ballots.Mexicans elected one president, 128 senators and 500 members of the lower chamber, in a race that also included the election of several governors and the city mayor.