Nine out of ten Mexicans voting on Sunday in an unprecedented recall election engineered by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador backed him to stay in office.

Iran PressAmerica: Fewer than two of every 10 eligible Mexican voters bothered to cast ballots Sunday on whether their popular president should end his six-year term barely midway through or continue to the end, according to the National Electoral Institute’s initial statistical estimate.

Participation in the referendum was estimated to be between 17% and 18% of eligible voters, less than half the participation required for the result to be binding.

Early returns, as expected, showed an overwhelming tendency toward having President Andrés Manuel López Obrador finish out his term, with nearly all ballots backing the leader.

Lorenzo Córdova, president of the National Electoral Institute, stressed that it was a statistical estimate based on a sampling of ballots, but with 95% reliability. He said the estimate indicated that better than 90% of those who did vote were in favor of López Obrador remaining in office.