Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, winner of the July 1 presidential election, on Monday accused the leftist runner-up of exceeding spending limits and using illegal funds to finance his bid. The allegations were a tit-for-tat exchange after leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador challenged the 3.3 million-vote victory by the PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto. Lopez Obrador alleges the PRI resorted to money laundering and vote-buying to win. PRI officials fired back on Monday, saying Lopez Obrador’s campaign spent 1.2 billion pesos ($88.65 million) more than was allowed in the presidential campaign.
“We have information that public funds were siphoned into the campaign of Andres Manuel Lopez,” PRI Chairman Pedro Joaquin Coldwell told reporters at a news conference. Joaquin Coldwell suggested the funds were likely illegally channeled from the budget of cities and states run by the leftist parties backing Lopez Obrador’s presidential bid.
The PRI’s counterpunch followed three weeks of allegations from Lopez Obrador, including a broadside on Wednesday that the PRI laundered money to fund vote buying ahead of the election. Though legal experts doubt Lopez Obrador can overturn the election results in court, the charges have sullied Pena Nieto’s victory and added fuel to popular protests against his win.