MEXICO: Opposition reject Calderon as president-elect


Doug Lorimer

On September 10, the Chamber of Deputies, the Mexican Congress's lower house, recognised Felipe Calderon as the nation's president-elect, but members of parties that supported his main rival in Mexico's contested presidential election refused to participate in the decision.

"Before the decision was made", the DPA news agency reported, "the representatives of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Labour Party (PT) left the chamber". Both parties had backed Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, candidate of the For the Good of All Coalition and refused to accept the final results of a vote that their candidate officially lost by only 0.56%.

Lopez Obrador, a leader of the PRD, and his predominantly working-class supporters claim the election was fraudulent and have carried out a number of massive protests and rallies, including establishing a squatters' camp in the centre of Mexico City.

DPA reported: "The leftist candidate has threatened to set up an alternative government and on Friday Lopez Obrador's supporters prevented President Fox from delivering his final state of the nation speech, by occupying the podium in the Mexican Congress." The PRD has said it will not recognise Calderon as president nor engage in dialogue with him.

Calderon said that he would announce his cabinet on December 1. "We will have a respectful relationship with all heads of state, including Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia", Calderon told Congress. Fox had clashed with Cuba and Venezuela during his presidency, over issues such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

DPA reported that "Calderon suggested that he would adopt some of the proposals of his main rival Lopez Obrador — especially those related to poverty relief." Lopez Obrador had campaigned on the slogan, "The poor come first".

Lopez Obrador has scheduled a "National Democratic Convention" that will draw together the forces that have backed the anti-fraud campaign on September 16.