MEXICO CITY — The election for the prized post of governor of Baja California was thrown into disarray Monday, with both major candidates claiming victory and a preliminary vote count abruptly halted because of what authorities called a math error.
The National Action Party, which has held the job since 1989, when it became the first party to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party in an election, was ahead by a few percentage points after polls closed Sunday night, officials said.
But then, with about 97 percent of preliminary results tallied in a quick count by a private contractor, officials suddenly halted the count and said results would not be available until Wednesday. The officials cited a problem with algorithms.
Some Mexicans smelled a rat.
They recalled the notorious presidential election of 1988, when leftist candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas appeared to be defeating Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. At a certain point, the system conducting the ballot count had what authorities at the time claimed to be a mechanical failure. When the computers came back up, Salinas was declared the victor.