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THURSDAY, JULY 6, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Recount will prove decisively who won Mexican election

Six years ago, Mexico emerged from 71 years of one-party rule replete with election fraud and corruption. Many believed the election of Vincente Fox would move the country forward.

While corruption and poverty remain rampant, Mexico has made progress in the areas of government transparency and press independence.

That is why it is imperative Mexico reviews every vote cast in Sunday's presidential election, which preliminary tallies show was won by Felipe Calderon of Fox's National Action Party by just 1 percentage point.

Charismatic leftist challenger Andres Manuel Obrador says he was victorious, has challenged the result and called for a recount of every ballot.

Federal Electoral Institute President Luis Carlos Ugalde said Tuesday that 2.6 million of the 41 million ballots cast were not counted in the preliminary results because of inconsistencies, such as poor handwriting or extraneous marks on the tally sheets attached outside each ballot box.

On Wednesday, an Obrador aide said the party found more inconsistencies, including 18,646 polling places where the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters.

It is important that, as Mexico emerges from nearly a century of imposed rule, the public is confident in the electoral process. The fact that the election was so close, and that the ruling party triumphed amid disputed tallies, does not encourage public confidence.

As should be the case in all disputed elections with such small margins, Mexico should conduct an independent recount. Observers from both parties should be present. Such a recount will guarantee that the people's elected president emerges victorious.

Sadly, that doesn't always happen — even in the oldest and most open democracies.

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