Neck-and-Neck Race Gives Calderon Victory

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The New York Sun

MEXICO CITY — The ruling party’s Felipe Calderon won the official count in Mexico’s disputed presidential race yesterday, a come-from-behind victory for the stiff technocrat. But his leftist rival refused to concede and said he’d fight the results in court.

Mr. Calderon, a conservative who preached free-market values and financial stability during the campaign, was already reaching out to other parties to build a “unity government.” His opponent, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, blamed fraud for his narrow loss in the vote count and called on his supporters to fill Mexico City’s main square Saturday in a show of force.

With all of the 41 million votes counted, Mr. Calderon of President Fox’s National Action Party had 35.88% to 35.31% for Mr. Lopez Obrador, of the Democratic Revolution Party. The two were separated by about 220,000 votes.

Roberto Madrazo, whose Institutional Revolutionary Party controlled Mexico for 71 years until Mr. Fox’s victory in 2000, had 22.27%, and two minor candidates split the rest.

Once the count is complete, challenges go before the country’s top electoral court. A winner must be declared by September 6. The next president begins a single, six-year term on December 1. But many obstacles remain in Mr. Calderon’s path. If his victory is upheld by the courts, he will face a Congress dominated by opposition parties.

The New York Sun

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