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Opposition Complains of Irregularities in Veracruz Elections

September 4, 1989

XALAPA, Mexico (AP) _ The Gulf coast state of Veracruz voted for state legislators Sunday, and opposition parties said their representatives were refused access to polls and registration lists were manipulated.

One poll watcher was attacked with a machete by a member of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, a spokesman for the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party said.

The spokesman, Wilhem Castillo, said the incident occurred when a party representative went to a precinct in a small town outside Misantla, 70 miles northwest of the port of Veracruz. The seriousness of his injuries was not known, he said.

″There were certain irregularities of all types. You know the kind, they’re normal by now,″ said Jose Luis Ochoa, a state legislator for the conservative National Action Party. ″It’s going to be fraud again.″

Incidents, including expulsion of poll watchers, were most frequent in San Andres Tuxtla, Orizaba, Coatzacoalcos and Misantla, he said. By law, opposition parties are allowed to have representatives at polling places, but they frequently complain of accreditation problems.

Castillo said opposition monitors were not allowed in any of the 10 communities near San Andres Tuxtla.

Last week, the Leftist Democratic Party said its members were pared from voter registration lists and voter credentials were distributed with no control.

Electoral commission president Miguel Angel Diaz Pedroza asked for proof of violations.

President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who took office on Dec. 1, has pledged elections will be clean and opposition victories will be recognized.

The governing party accepted the first gubernatorial loss in its 60-year history on July 2, when the National Action candidate won in Baja California.

But accusations continue that it cheated the Democratic Revolutionary Party out of legislative victories the same day in Michoacan state.

Results in several municipal elections in the southern state of Oaxaca in August also were disputed.

Transparent ballot boxes were used in Veracruz Sunday for the first time. About 3 million of the state’s 6.3 million people were eligible to vote.

Official results were expected in a week.

The legislature was being increased from 31 to 40 seats, 24 to be filled by direct election and 16 allotted to minority parties according to the percentage of the vote they receive. The governing party currently holds 23 seats.

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