A group of United Nations experts said Thursday Mexico's electoral system has been "profoundly reformed" and was good enough to allow a clean vote in the Aug. 21 presidential and legislative elections.
The group, which is monitoring efforts to guarantee that these elections are the cleanest in Mexican history, said the greater influence of civilians in the Federal Electoral Institute and the introduction of photocredentials to eligible voters were major advances."The electoral system's structure makes possible the holding of free and fair elections," it concluded in a report released Thursday.
The group, led by election experts from Chile, Spain and Colombia, said the reforms did not by themselves guarantee that voting would be clean, adding that election day success would depend on how the political parties abide by the law.
But the report was a vote of confidence for the Institute and gave further backing to the accuracy of an electoral register that has been repeatedly criticized by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party.
It also said the necessary legal conditions had been set for parties to present any allegations of fraud before the electoral authorities.
President Carlos Salinas de Gortari has come under intense pressure to guarantee clean elections. In response, civilians have been given a majority on the IFE, electoral fraud was criminalized under the law and a special prosecutor has been appointed to clamp down on any abuses.
In the past, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party has used fraud to maintain its 65-year control of almost all levels of government.
The PRI is heading opinion polls, but many analysts believe election day vote-rigging could trigger a wave of opposition protests and violence.