Published On: Tue, Apr 10th, 2018

Court adds 5th candidate to Mexico’s presidential ballot

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Mexico’s top electoral court ordered Tuesday April 10, that a fifth candidate be added to the presidential ballot, setting off a controversy less than three months before the July 1 national elections.

Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez, an independent candidate often seen astride a horse in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, was kept off the ballot last month by the electoral institute for not collecting enough legitimate signatures. He argued that the institute did not allow him a timely review and challenge for all of the rejected names.

The court ruled early Tuesday in a 4-3 vote that Rodriguez was not given a sufficient opportunity to contest signatures. It said he should be added to the ballot immediately since the official campaign period began nearly two weeks ago.

The decision was criticized by opponents and pundits for undermining the authority of the electoral institute and for placing a candidate on the ballot who the electoral institute had said provided fraudulent signatures.

Independent candidates were required to gather signatures from 866,000 people, or 1 percent of the electorate on a national level, from 17 of Mexico’s 31 states, plus the capital district.

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In a statement, the court said Rodriguez successfully challenged nearly 63,000 signatures that had been rejected by the electoral institute and was only about 16,000 names short, which could be found upon further review.

Rodriguez is the second independent candidate in the race, joining Margarita Zavala, a lawyer and former lawmaker and first lady. He won the governorship of Nuevo Leon as an independent in 2015.

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