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Federal Electoral Institute President Leonard Valdés said Wednesday that contrary to statements from populist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, there is no chance of fraud in Mexico's July 1 presidential election. López Obrador had raised the specter of fraud while on the hustings this week. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Meanwhile, National Action Party candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota defended an ad that suggests López Obrador might back a call to arms if he loses, saying it was based on facts. Campaigns have been trying to find ways to run spots that skirt new electoral rules restricting negative advertising. However, in this case, the ad quoted López Obrador as saying, "armed conflict is one way to transform the nation," but in context he said, "We don't discount those who say armed conflict is one way to transform the nation. But I want to say that with all respect to those who think that way, we hold that we will always fight in a peaceful way and via the electoral process." Vázquez Mota's campaign coordinador, Roberto Gil, said his polls show her in a technical tie with López Obrador and 8 points behind the front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Story in Frontera (PDF).
On Wednesday, López Obrador appeared on the "Tercer Grado" journalists' roundtable TV show, and said an internal poll showed him in first with 28%, Peña Nieto in second with 26% and Vázquez Mota in third with 19%. López Obrador said a "dirty war" now is being engaged against him as a result of his rise in the polls. The candidate, wearing a dark suit and blue tie, looked relaxed as he said he expected to win July 1 and only grudgingly said that he and "the people" might accept the election results if he lost.
Peña Nieto's star has been slowly falling following his May 11 appearance at the Universidad Iberoamericana that brought forth a nationwide student protest movement; he appeared on "Tercer Grado" afterward to try to mitigate the damage. On Thursday, columnist Leo Zuckermann (PDF) said the adverse circumstances Peña Nieto faces are a positive development in the sense that they should help show the nation what Peña Nieto is made of. Zuckermann said Sunday's second, and final, presidential debate may be telling.
Also Thursday, the columnist Catón said he thought Mexicans were turning to López Obrador in droves, reasoning that the Democratic Revolution Party coalition candidate was deprived of the 2006 election and that he deserves a chance to lead Mexico, just as the PRI and the PAN have had their turns in the presidency. Catón said he thought the Teflon invulnerability that Peña Nieto long seemed to have now has been transferred to López Obrador. Catón's column (PDF).
Update, June 16: Former IFE President José Woldenberg writes a column entitled, "Why a fraud is impossible" (PDF)