Obrador changes tack to call for votes to be ditched

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Amid signs that a partial recount won't change enough votes to make him president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador unveiled a new victory strategy: he wants the court to throw out results from nearly 5,000 polling places.

"Annulling [the results] from these polling places would change the balance of the election, and would mean that Mr Lopez Obrador would be the winner," said Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate's aide. She said the request will be filed to the Federal Electoral Tribunal, which is overseeing the partial recount and must resolve all challenges to the July 2 elections by the end of August.

Parties involved in the recount say elections officials have found extra ballots in some ballot boxes, and, in other cases, have failed to account for all blank ballots. Ms Sheinbaum said this suggests "a concerted operation" to distort the vote count in favor of the conservative Felipe Calderon, who led by less than 1 percent in the official but still uncertified vote count. "These criminals thought it was going to be easy, 'We took his victory away and he's going to cross his arms and do nothing'," said Mr Lopez Obrador said. "Well, no, I'm not going to just wait with my arms crossed."

Representatives of Mr Calderon's National Action Party insisted that no major problems or variations in the vote have surfaced with more than 75 per cent of the count completed.

The polling places to be challenged by Mr Lopez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party were mainly ones where Mr Calderon got more votes, and would represent almost 4 per cent of Mexico's voting places.

Mr Lopez Obrador said he doesn't want the entire election thrown out, but Ms Sheinbaum said the tribunal might choose to order a recount of all 41 million votes cast, rather than the recount of 9 per cent of ballot boxes with problems.AP