Governing Party Claims Victory in Bitter Governor’s Race
MERIDA, Mexico (AP) _ Both Mexico’s longtime governing party and the opposition declared victory in a fiercely contested governor’s race and vowed to defend their wins.
The race for Yucatan state governor was generally seen as an early test of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s promise to hold a ″clean and fair″ presidential election next August.
Salinas’ Institutional Revolutionary Party has not lost the presidency in its 64-year history.
With more than 60 percent of the vote counted in most races late Monday, Salinas’ party claimed not only the governorship, but a clean sweep of the entire state.
However, the opposition National Action Party also claimed it won the governor’s race, as well as six of 106 mayorships and one of 25 state legislative seats.
Both parties based their claims on their own unofficial vote tallies.
The state Electoral Commission said it would release results of the hand- counted vote for local offices Wednesday and for the governorship Sunday.
″We want Ana Rosa to govern Yucatan 3/8″ about 10,000 supporters shouted at a Monday night rally for National Action candidate Ana Rosa Payan, bidding to be the fourth opposition leader elected governor of a Mexican state since 1989.
Before that year, critics claim opponents of the governing party were prevented from winning, usually through fraud.
″Don’t you worry,″ Payan, 42, mayor of the state capital, Merida, told the crowd. ″I will govern Yucatan.″
Payan’s party accused the Institutional Revolutionary Party of widespread fraud in Sunday’s elections, including stealing ballot boxes, intimidating voters and altering registration lists.
The governing party’s candidate, Federico Granja Ricalde, led a crowd of 10,000 supporters through the streets late Monday.
″It is a day of joy for us because we have achieved ... a legitimate triumph,″ said Granja, a 53-year-old civil engineer.
Salsa music exploded in the main square, upstaging the National Action Party rally.
By many estimates, more than 60 percent of the 677,000 registered voters in this southeastern farming state went to the polls, one of the highest turnouts ever in Yucatan.