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Calderon named Mexico's president-elect

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060905/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/mexico_elections Calderon named Mexico s president-elect By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer 18
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2006

      Calderon named Mexico's president-elect

      By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer 18 minutes

      MEXICO CITY - Felipe Calderon became president-elect
      of Mexico on Tuesday, two months after disputed
      elections, when the nation's top electoral court voted
      unanimously to reject allegations of fraud and certify
      his narrow victory.

      His leftist rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, had
      said he would not recognize the ruling. His supporters
      wept as the decision was announced and the courthouse
      shook as protesters set off fireworks outside.

      "This has been fraudulent from start to finish," said
      Claudio Martinez, 23.

      Calderon, staying out of sight at the ruling party
      offices, now must win over millions of Mexicans angry
      that President Vicente Fox didn't make good on
      promises of sweeping change — and fend off thousands
      of radicalized leftists who say they will stop at
      nothing to undermine his presidency.

      The court's final, official vote count trimmed
      Calderon's 240,000-vote advantage to 233,831 votes out
      of 41.6 million cast. Judge Alfonsina Berta Navarro
      Hidalgo said the court found evidence of problems, but
      not enough to annul the election.

      "There are no perfect elections," she said.

      The tribunal's decision was final and cannot be

      Tuesday's long-awaited ruling by the Federal Electoral
      Tribunal — which came two months, three days, and tens
      of thousands of pages of legal challenges after voters
      cast their ballots — was unlikely to end potentially
      explosive protests or close the growing political
      divide gripping the country.

      The court rejected Lopez Obrador's "dirty campaign"
      allegations, but said Fox put the election at risk
      with his comments on the campaign.

      Lopez Obrador had argued that an ad campaign comparing
      him to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez illegally
      affected the elections. But the court said that while
      the ads had a strong impact, it was not enough to
      change the result. It also pointed out that Lopez
      Obrador used his own attack ads against Calderon.

      The court said there was "no logical connection" to
      Lopez Obrador's claim that television ads by
      pro-Calderon businesses had subliminal messages in
      favor of Calderon. It also rejected claims that the
      popular soap opera "La Fea Mas Bella," or "The
      Prettiest Ugly Girl," indirectly supported Calderon,
      and said there was no evidence electoral authorities
      were biased against the leftist.

      The court's president, Leonel Castillo, called on
      Mexicans to unite and heal the deep divisions the
      election revealed.

      "I hope we conclude this electoral process leaving
      confrontation behind," he said.

      Neither candidate was at the session. Lopez Obrador
      ate breakfast with lawmakers from his Democratic
      Revolution Party, then arrived at his protest tent in
      Mexico City's Zocalo plaza where he has been sleeping
      for nearly two months.

      He was greeted by supporters yelling: "You are not

      Lopez Obrador adviser Manuel Camacho told The
      Associated Press that the court's recommendation "does
      not take into account what is actually happening in
      the country."

      "The court is going to be questioned seriously about
      its decision," he said, adding: "We have the
      responsibility to conduct ourselves peacefully."

      Busloads of riot police guarded Calderon's campaign
      headquarters where he was expected to celebrate his
      victory Tuesday evening.

      Lopez Obrador barely mentioned the impending decision
      Monday during his nightly address to followers in the

      Instead, he focused on an upcoming national convention
      of his supporters to decide if he should declare
      himself head of a parallel government whose members
      would propose a series of government reforms.

      "This movement is now about transforming the country,"
      he said.

      "What we are proposing now could just be a dream —
      maybe it won't bear fruit, maybe it will be that we
      fail — but you know what we have? We have confidence,
      and above all the responsibility to do it," he later
      added. "The dreams of the men and women of today will
      be the realities of tomorrow."

      The convention is planned for Sept. 16, Mexico's
      Independence Day in the Zocalo, where the armed forces
      traditionally gather for a march down Mexico City's
      main Reforma avenue. Both places have been occupied by
      protesters for more than a month.

      Mexican presidents are limited by the constitution to
      one, six-year term, and Fox leaves office Dec. 1.

      Protesters say they won't go home until Lopez Obrador
      is declared president — and a court ruling in
      Calderon's favor will just fuel their fight.

      Tensions spilled from the streets to the halls of
      Congress on Friday, when lawmakers from Lopez
      Obrador's party the podium of the legislature and
      blocked Fox from delivering his final
      state-of-the-nation address.
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