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Mexican President Wins 90% Backing In Leadership Vote He Sought
By Staff, Reuters
Nine out of ten Mexicans voting on Sunday in an unprecedented recall election engineered by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador backed him to stay in office, underlining his domination of a polarized political agenda.
Both critics and supporters alike had viewed his victory as a foregone conclusion in a ballot that had fed speculation it could open the door to extending presidential term limits, now limited to a single six-year period.
Between 90.3% and 91.9% voters were predicted to have supported Lopez Obrador, a preliminary estimate from the National Electoral Institute [INE] showed on Sunday night.
Unleashing a string of barbs at adversaries, Lopez Obrador hailed the referendum result as "historic", and compared his tally favorably with the number of votes won by rivals he defeated to win the presidency, and in other elections.
"We don't have a king in Mexico," he said in a video address. "It's a democracy, and the people are in charge."
A pugnacious leftist, Lopez Obrador was the architect of the first so-called 'recall referendum' in modern Mexico, calling it vital to confirm his democratic mandate.
Turnout in the vote was forecast at between 17% and 18.2%, INE said, well below a threshold of 40% for it to be binding, and lower than some polls.
Opposition leaders had actively discouraged supporters from voting, with many condemning the plebiscite as a propaganda exercise and a costly distraction from real problems.
Turnout had been expected to range between 16% and 25% in a poll published by newspaper El Financiero this month.
Political analysts had said Lopez Obrador would seize on the result as a personal triumph in his bid to push a constitutional change to the electricity market through Congress in the coming week, although he looks short of votes.
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