MEXICO CITY – Mexico's leftist presidential candidate said Friday he will lead a national campaign to annul the results of the July 1 elections, but ruled out street blockades and protest camps like the ones his supporters used to protest his loss in 2006.
Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who ran second in the July 1 elections, said he will hold mass rallies and pursue legal challenges up to the Sept. 6 deadline for electoral courts to rule on the validity of the results.
He claims the winner, Enrique Pena Nieto of the old ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, engaged in massive vote-buying and campaign overspending. Pena Nieto's party has denied those allegations and said Lopez Obrador simply refuses to accept his defeat.
In 2006, Lopez Obrador lost the presidency by a much smaller margin, and led weeks of street blockades in Mexico City to protest what he claimed had been vote fraud.
But this year, Lopez Obrador said, "the circumstances are different."
He said that, at least until the electoral court rules, his self-described "National Plan to Protect Democracy and Mexico's Dignity" will hold rallies on July 29 and August 5, and artistic events.
"We are going to use peaceful methods," Lopez Obrador said. "Our adversaries would like us to fall into the trap of provocation and violence, but they are not going to get their wish."
"We do not want to give the violent ones a pretext to call us violent."
Obrador says the country's electoral watchdog agency has taken the side of Pena Nieto, who won the race according to official vote counts.
Lopez Obrador said Friday the country's Federal Electoral Institute "is turning a blind eye" to alleged campaign overspending and vote-buying by Pena Nieto.
The institute's president said his agency's investigative team has until January to finish its probe, by which time Pena Nieto would already have been sworn into office.
Lopez Obrador called that "ridiculous" and demanded the investigation be finished before Pena Nieto is officially recognized as the winner.