The head of Mexico’s electoral authority says there will be no excuse for questioning the results of Sunday’s presidential and congressional elections.

In what many pollsters have predicted will be the closest presidential contest in the country’s history, speculation has been growing that one or more of the candidates and parties running for office could call for a recount or even demand that new elections be called.

But Luis Carlos Ugalde, the head of Mexico’s federal electoral institute (IFE), told the FT this week: “There is no legal or technical reason for anyone to repudiate the results…It is a very transparent process that stops anyone from assuming that something has been changed. There is no way.”

Most of the candidates involved in Sunday’s election have already said they would respect IFE’s decision at the end of the count. The institute expects to call a winner at 11pm local time.

But in an interview with Mexico’s El Universal newspaper this week, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the candidate of the leftwing Democratic Revolution party (PRD) and, according to many polls, the poll’s front-runner, appeared to leave open the possibility of questioning the results.

“I will respect IFE’s results…even if it is by one vote; of course, as long as we are talking about a clean process,” he said.

That apparent caveat has inevitably caused some concern, particularly given the appearance of several potential “hot spots” in recent weeks, such as the long-running protest of public-sector teachers in the southern state of Oaxaca and their threats to disrupt Sunday’s vote.

Even Mr Ugalde said that while he ruled out any complaints against the results on technical or legal grounds, he did not rule out their possibility for other reasons.

“Technical or legal? No. Political? I don’t know,” he said.

Mr López Obrador also told El Universal that he would give IFE only seven or eight points out of 10. “The inefficiency of its staff worries me…Basically, I am concerned that they do not have the capacity to conduct the process,” he said.

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