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Mexico’s electoral system and what’s at stake

SHARE Mexico’s electoral system and what’s at stake

MEXICO CITY, June 29 — Mexico holds a general election Sunday that is being hotly contested between the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has run the country since 1929, and the opposition.

The following is a summary of the posts up for grabs and how the electoral system works:

Posts involved in election

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC — The race began with six candidates but ends with five, after Profirio Munoz Ledo of the centrist Party of the Authentic Mexican Revolution (PARM) stood down to back Vicente Fox of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the leading opposition contender.

MEXICO CITY MAYOR — There are five registered candidates representing 11 political parties. The left-of-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) won the mayor's post in 1997 in the first democratic election held for the post.

NATIONAL CONGRESS — Five hundred deputies will be elected, of whom 300 will be by direct relative voting and 200 by proportional representation. One-hundred-twenty-eight senators will also be elected. The PRI lost its majority in the lower house in 1997 but remained the largest single party. It dominates the Senate.

GOVERNORS — New governors will be elected in the central state of Morelos and the farming state of Guanajuato.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF FEDERAL DISTRICT — Mexico City residents will elect 66 deputies for the city's congress, as well as the heads of 16 "delegations," or districts that make up the capital.

STATE LEGISLATURES AND MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS — In addition to the local election in Mexico City, states facing municipal and state legislature elections are Guanajuato, Morelos, Mexico State, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Campeche, Coliuma, Queretaro and Nuevo Leon.

How the system works

The ballot is being overseen by the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), which, for the first time in a general election, is fully autonomous and independent.

The Federal Electoral Tribunal (Trife) has the final word on any controversies and if the result is contested. The tribunal has until Sept. 6 to make a final decision.

Voting is secret and free.

Electoral roll 59,591,638 citizens

Registered voters 58,789,209 citizens

Who votes? Mexicans aged over 18

Number of:

recognized parties 11

electoral districts 300

ballot stations 113,424

Voting hours:

in most states 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (1300-2300 GMT)

Northwest Pacific coast 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (1500-0100 GMT)

Exit polls can be published after 8 p.m. (0100 GMT)

First quick counts from IFE after 11 p.m. (0400 GMT)