Calderón declared Mexican president-elect

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Felipe Calderón

After more than two months of wrangling following the July 2 election, Felipe Calderón of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) has been declared president-elect of Mexico by the country's electoral court. His six year term will begin December 1st. The court's 7 judges unanimously affirmed that Calderón defeated left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador by a margin of less than 0.6% of the vote rejecting Lopez Obrador's claims of electoral fraud and undue influence by outgoing president Vicente Fox and dismissing the option of annulling the election and holding a new vote. Tens of thousands of Lopez Obrador's supporters have been rallying in Mexico City for weeks demanding a full recount. The court allowed only a partial recount of 9% of the ballots - the recount narrowed the margin by 0.03%, which the court decided was not enough to justify a wider recount.

Calderón has responded to the court's ruling with an attempt to placate the left with a call for unity to defeat poverty, unemployment and crime.

"I want to again express my recognition of my adversaries," said Calderon in a Tuesday evening broadcast to the nation.

"Their proposals, the most worthwhile ones, which are the most legitimate and representative, will be incorporated into my government programme."

"From my side, there will always be an extended hand and an open door to dialogue," he added.

Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City, has rejected the electoral court's ruling.

"I do not recognize someone who tries to act as the chief federal executive without having a legitimate and democratic representation," he said in a rally in Mexico City's Zócalo plaza.

Lopez Obrador referred to his rival as a "usurper". He has spoken of the possibility of declaring a parallel government "of the people to rival that of the political mafia and white-collar criminals", and said he would continue to lead street protesters.

Under Mexican law the court's decision is final and cannot be appealed.

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