August 15, 1988
MEXICO CITY (AP) Opposition groups pressed their claim that the July 6 elections were rigged by holding rallies Sunday, the day before the electoral college begins ratifying returns from the bitterly contested races.
About 1,500 cheering supporters of the conservative National Action Party gathered at midday at the Independence Monument here for a speech by their candidate, Manuel J. Clouthier.
Demonstrators shouted "Maquio, Maquio," Clouthier's childhood nickname, and waved the party's blue-and-white flags. Some carried papier-mache effigies of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the candidate of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Leftist parties supporting candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas planned rallies in different parts of the capital and in provincial cities.
Both the left and right accuse the government and the governing party, which has held power since 1929, of resorting to widespread fraud in the balloting and vote tabulations.
Rallies have been held almost daily to urge that an accurate final count be made public. The electoral college is to meet through Aug. 31.
Results announced a week after the election gave Salinas 50.36 percent of the vote in the race to succeed retiring President Miguel de la Madrid. Cardenas received 31.12 percent and Clouthier 17.07 percent.
"In all the country and in international opinion there are no doubts about the fraudulent nature of the July 6 elections and the imposition that is planned against the majority will of the people of Mexico," Cardenas' coalition, the National Democratic Front, said.
The opposition planned demonstrations outside the Legislative Palace when the newly elected members of the Chamber of Deputies, sitting as the Electoral College, meet Monday.
Parties also have called on residents to protest with 15-minute blackouts at 8 p.m. every evening while the sessions last. The college meets through the end of the month to review the results and declare the winner.
Reeling from its smallest margin of victory ever in a presidential race, as well as congressional losses and the opposition's refusal to concede, the 59-year-old governing party has pledged reforms and defended the election process.
"In these days, the confrontations could grow," Manuel Camacho Solis, secretary-general of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said Friday.
In an apparent warning to the opposition, he said basic agreements among the parties were possible, but said respect for decisions of the Federal Elections Commission and the electoral college "should be part of any widely accepted agreement."
Cardenas has said he would not negotiate, and both major opposition groupings said they would not recognize any officials deemed elected by fraud.
The left is demanding the government make public the results from each polling place.
Representatives of the governing party and two opposition groups signed a declaration saying orderly demonstrations would be allowed and that no special security was needed.
The left-leaning newspaper La Jornada praised the agreement as "contributing substantially to resolving what was beginning to become a conflict."