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Article posted Sep 04 2006, 10:32 PM Category: Geopolitics Source: Reuters Print

Mexican leftist says will never accept rival's win


MEXICO CITY, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Mexico's leftist opposition leader said on Sunday he will never recognize his right-wing rival as president and vowed a "radical transformation" of the country by setting up a parallel government.

Mexico's electoral court is almost certain to confirm the ruling party's Felipe Calderon as president-elect this week, but Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador insists he was robbed in the July 2 election.

"We will never accept usurpation nor recognize a president-elect who is illegitimate," the former mayor of Mexico City told a rally of thousands of supporters in the capital's main square.

"We are going for deep change, root change, because that is what Mexico needs," he said. "It is a radical transformation. We are going for the construction of a new country that is fair and honorable."

For more than a month, his leftist supporters have been protesting the election result by occupying the giant Zocalo square, the symbolic center of power in Mexico since Aztec times. They have also taken over a long section of the main Reforma boulevard, paralyzing the city center and causing traffic chaos.

Lopez Obrador did not say how he plans to set up a parallel government but in the past he said his supporters could continue the current street protests for years if necessary. He has also promised to avoid violence.

Leftist lawmakers seized the podium in Congress and refused to allow President Vicente Fox to deliver his last state of the nation address on Friday night. He withdrew from Congress and made his speech on TV instead.

If Calderon is declared president-elect, leftist deputies could repeat that tactic on Dec. 1 when he would have to enter Congress to don the presidential sash and give an acceptance speech to start his six-year term.

Lopez Obrador said he and his supporters would draw up a plan for a new nation at a convention in the Zocalo on Sept. 16, Mexico's independence day.

"We will not only decide on our form of government ... but something very important will also be defined: the basic plan for the transformation of Mexico," said Lopez Obrador, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution.

Calderon, a former energy minister favored by business leaders for his free-market policies, says the election was fair and fully expects to be declared president-elect.

Mexico's top electoral court must declare a new president by Wednesday. Its ruling cannot be appealed.

The court has already thrown out Lopez Obrador's allegations of massive fraud. It still has to give a final result, declare the election was clean, and name the winner.

The initial result showed that Calderon, of the National Action Party, won by around 244,000 votes, or just 0.58 of a percentage point.





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