In an unprecedented move, Mexico’s ruling party bowed Friday to charges of electoral fraud and abandoned the governorship of Guanajuato state to the opposition.
Ramon Aguirre of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, who officially won the Aug. 18 election, resigned Thursday night to “preserve the peace and harmony” of the state.
That move was followed Friday by the even more shocking decision of the PRI-dominated state legislature, which named a member of the opposition National Action Party as interim governor.
Hundreds of enraged PRI members stormed and seized the governor’s palace immediately after the legislature voted to name Carlos Medina Plascenia as interim governor. Medina is mayor of Leon, which is in Guanajuato. He was not a candidate in the disputed election.
He is to be sworn into office Sept. 26. The state constitution calls for a new election, but it sets no time limit for holding one.
Only one other opposition party figure has ever held a governorship in the six decades that the PRI has ruled Mexico.
A government spokesman in Mexico City said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to legally annul the official results, which gave Aguirre a 53% to 35% margin over businessman Vicente Fox, also of the National Action Party.