Polls opened across Mexico Sunday in the country's eagerly anticipated and somewhat historic general election. The polling offices across the country began accepting voters at 8:00 a.m and are scheduled to close at 6:00 p.m. The results of the election, which will incorporate a new and improved Rapid Count process, are expected to be available on Monday.
Mexico Battles Fraud, Ballot Thefts On Eve Of Elections
Some 88 million Mexicans – almost half of whom are under 40 years old – are eligible to vote for a new president, 128 senators and 500 deputies in Congress. State representatives and local officials are also among the more than 3,400 seats contested in the election.
Presidential front-runner Morena's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has based his campaign on cracking down on corruption as well as improving wages and pensions. Lopez Obrador was the runner-up in the last two elections.
An AMLO victory would break the dominance of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN) organizations. According to a recent poll, 64% Mexico's population believes the country is being mismanaged, and voters are reportedly eager to depose President Enrique Peña Nieto's ruling government, citing poverty and a declining economy as well as widespread corruption and crime.
On the eve of the July 1 elections, suspected fraud took center stage with several ballot boxes and documents reported stolen from delivery trucks destined for parts of Oaxaca and Chiapas, the State Electoral and Citizen Participation Institute (IEPC) said Saturday.
Reports suggest that seven ballot boxes were stolen from Huixtan, Chiapas and another 1,770 ballots and several ballot boxes were taken in Oaxaca. According to Mexicos National Electoral Institute (INE), over 20,000 ballots have so far been stolen across the nation.
More than 50 million of the country's 127.5 million people live below the poverty line while a 2017 UN-Cepal study disclosed that one percent of the population holds one-third of its wealth.
Lopez Obrador's closest rival is PAN's Ricardo Anaya, who leads a center-right coalition. PRI's candidate is ex-Finance Minister José Antonio Meade.
Over 130 candidates and or workers have been killed since the campaigns started in September.