Runner-Ups in Tijuana Mayoral Election Vow to Contest Preliminary Results

Both PRI and PES argue that irregularities and 'dirty tactics' kept their numbers down during the preliminary count.

Yesterday's preliminary count made National Action Party (PAN) candidate Juan Manuel Gastélum the city's mayor-elect with only a 1% advantage over Institutional Revolutionary Party's (PRI) René Mendivil and Social Encounter Party's (PES) Julián Leyzaola. Now, both of them have said that they will contest the result because of irregularities and suspicions of 'dirty tactics'.

"We will ask a vote-by-vote recount", said Jorge Tsutsumi, PRI's director in Tijuana. This comes as no surprise considering how, out of 11 thousand nullified votes, over 4 thousand of them were supposedly for PRI's four-party coalition. A suspicion among PRI sympathizers is that some voters marked their ballot inappropriately, therefore 'nullifying' it, something that the Electoral Institute had contemplated beforehand.

Likewise, Julián Leyzaola's party, PES, argued about severe irregularities present during the preliminary count, stating that "it's impossible for a candidate like Leyzaola to have zero votes in more than 50 polling stations." PES' director in Tijuana, Luis Moreno, said that Leyzaola "is Tijuana's next mayor", assuring that Gastélum's 1.4% advantage over Leyzaola will be easy to surpass once the preliminary count errors are fixed.

Calling out irregularities and institutional corruption during Mexico's electoral processes is an issue that has become more and more prevalent over the last decade, although it's far from new. This, coupled with the extremely low voter turnout in Baja California, makes for very long, arduous count-recount cycles before a new representative is elected.

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