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Despite initial claims by National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party leader Mario Delgado to the contrary, the first national internal elections of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s leftist party on Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31, were marred by claims of ballot stuffing, ballot box burnings and outright acts of violence, with videos of numerous of these incidences popping up on social media nationwide.

According to both media and police reports, the first day of the Morena vote to elect national congressional candidates included multiple scenes of massive voter hauling by the candidates, complaints of anomalies and even the burning of ballot boxes and ballots.

Despite a heavy voter turnout in the 20 states where election took place on the first day of voting, in 16 of them, complaints against the party predominated.

In some districts, violent confrontations between various party members led to the suspension of the entire voting process.

In addition, there were clashes between groups of candidates, burning and theft of stationery, and destruction of electoral furniture.

More than 50 local and federal legislators, mayors and other state or municipal officials were accused of participating in these electoral irregularities, where 1,630 Morena candidacies were up for grabs among 3,000 precandidates for Mexico’s National Congress.

In the coastal state of Veracruz, municipal police in Minatitlán detained and handcuffed the local Morena deputy, Jéssica Ramírez, a congressional candidate, after she caused a ruckus disturbance at a polling place, physically attacking voters as they lined up to cast their ballots.

Meanwhile, in the southern state of Oaxaca, voting centers in Juchitán and Matías Romero were closed down after some Morena supporters burned and destroyed the electoral stationary.

A similar situation occurred in Amozoc, Puebla, just outside Mexico City, when protestors blamed the local mayor, Mario de la Rosa, of stuffing ballot boxes with votes for his daughter, Zuri de la Rosa.

Also in Puebla, in the town of Tehuacán, Morena organizers reported that at least 10 percent of all the ballots and ballot boxes had been burned or otherwise destroyed.

In Michoacán, a police officer from the town of Tacámbaro was denounced for stuffing ballot boxes in favor of councilor Karen Gaona, and in Zitácuaro, internet videos were seen of men in vans with government logos refilling ballot boxes favoring the brother of the local mayor.

In Colima and Zacatecas, a senator and a local deputy, respectively, accused mayors and officials of using public servants to coerce the vote.

In Tijuana, Filiberto Pozos and María de Jesús Sánchez were accused of offering 1,500 pesos to voters who could prove that they had voted for them.

In several social media videos, voters were shown carrying the names of the two congressmen on a sheet of paper for whom they said that were told they had to vote if they wanted to receive their government stipends.

Still another video shows candidates handing out basic food baskets to potential voters.

A second day of voting was held on Sunday, July 31, in the remaining 12 Mexican states to elect internal Morena leadership for 2023 and 2024.

Those elections were also disrupted by numerous acts of violence, and in many ways were worse with reports of some disrupters attacking voters with baseball bats.

Accusations of cheating continued on Sunday in virtually every one of the 12 states.

In Gómez Palacio, Durango, the polling was suspended due to a confrontation between alleged supporters of Marina Vitela Rodríguez, a former Morena candidate for governor, and Federal Deputy Omar Castañeda, even before the voting booths opened.

There were also burning of ballots, and reports of stones and chairs being hurled, as well as blows between people dressed in Morena vests.

One man was hit with a bat and the Parque Hundido polling station was closed.

Some Morena supporters accused Omar Castañeda of being affiliated with the centralist opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and demanded his withdraw from the race.

In Querétaro, in the just first hour, 32 videoed anomalies had already been reported such as carrying and buying votes, according to the local Morena delegate, Mauricio Ruiz Olaes.

“We make the respectful call that we cannot do that. In Morena, coercion, buying, carrying is prohibited,” Ruiz Olaes later said in an interview with local media.

On one internet video, a man could be seen offering payments to elderly people, presumably beneficiaries of government social programs, to vote for Maribel Barrón Soto, a candidate in District 3.

“Whoever isn’t on the list, isn’t going to get paid,” the man could be heard saying.

The TV San Juan channel recorded several citizens lined up to register in the patio of a house in the Fátima neighborhood of San Juan del Río. They were told that they would be taken to the vote, where they would cast their ballots as they were told to.

In Corregidora, in the Fifth District, Juan Enrique Muñoz, a Morena militant, accused the violence and chaos to opposition political parties, which he claimed were instigating the troubles to “betray the ideals of Morena, put in their henchmen and burst the party from within.”

Most open voting centers appeared crowded, especially with older Mexicans, although the distribution of little papers with the name of whom to vote for, such as Ricardo Domínguez Moreno and Paola Balastros Sauz, in District 5, was also very evident.

In Yucatan., there was also a massive turnout, although Morena candidate for governor, Ángel Alonzo Xacur stated that he had evidence of tricks by “outsiders” trying to disrupt the party.

In San Luis Potosí, Morena supporters accused the Green Party, of which Governor Ricardo Gallardo is a member, of carrying out fraud so that its candidates could enter the National Congress of Morena, which will elect the council and the leadership of the party.

In Mexico City, confrontations were recorded and denounced in various municipalities, including Iztacalco and Coyoacán.

After a flood of recorded and registered incidences surfaced on the internet and across local police stations, Morena’s Delgado, who had late Saturday declared the process “democratic, clean, open, plural and orderly,” said Sunday that the elections will be annulled in all districts where the leadership “can prove that there were irregularities.”



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