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New Mexico City airport rejected in referendum; results questioned

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The future of Mexico City’s partly built airport is in doubt. File photo

Voters told authorities to scrap the construction of a partly-built multibillion-dollar airport near Mexico City in a referendum that ended Sunday.

The four-day vote was launched by President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a move that risks putting his incoming administration on a collision course with investors. AMLO, as he is known, had pledged to honor the referendum’s outcome.

Voters were asked to chose whether the incoming government should finish the new US$14.5 billion New International Airport of Mexico City or upgrade a military airbase to be used in addition to the current airport. The new airport is about one-third complete, intended to replace the Benito Juárez International Airport, which is the busiest airport in Latin America.

With six runways and three terminals, the new airport would be the second-largest in the world.

Sixty-nine percent of those who voted rejected the project, according to the Arturo Rosenblueth Foundation, a non-profit organization that ran the count.

Turnout was low with only about 1 million people in a country of 129 million participating.

The referendum was organized by Obrador’s party, Morena, without involvement from the National Electoral Institute, which normally runs elections. Opposition parties say that the referendum did not follow proper rules.

Several media outlets reported cases of people voting more than once and pointed out failures in software used to register voter identification cards.

But Obrador insisted that the voting process was legitimate.

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