A prominent National Action Party, or PAN, lawmaker wants former Mexican President Vicente Fox expelled from the party for supporting a candidate from another party in the recent presidential race.

Congressman Oscar Martin Arce Paniagua, who chairs the leadership commission of the lower house of Congress, plans to ask the PAN's National Executive Committee to take action against Fox, the commission said in a statement

Arce contends that PAN rules require members to support the party's candidates, creating "sufficient arguments for (Fox) to be expelled from the party or to lose his party rights," the statement said.

Fox, who governed Mexico from 2000 to 2006, urged people to vote for Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, who was the frontrunner in the polls and won last Sunday's election.

Fox said Peña Nieto had an insurmountable lead over PAN candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota and it was necessary to make "votes count" to prevent leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from winning.

The former president, who does not hold any party posts, has belonged to the PAN since 1987 and won the presidency as the conservative party's standard-bearer in the 2000 elections, ending seven decades of PRI rule.

Fox's comments prompted PAN chairman Gustavo Madero to call on the former president to "not betray democracy."

"Fox Quesada should not forget that after decades of authoritarianism and economic and political backwardness in Mexico, he was the one who brought about change, so it appears unfitting, contradictory and absurd for him to ask for votes for a party opposed to what he advocated in 2000," Madero said.

Lopez Obrador, for his part, said it was "sleazy" of Fox to abandon Vazquez Mota, who came in third in the race.

The leftist politician has not recognized Peña Nieto's victory and is awaiting the final official results. EFE