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Calderon Is PAN's Candidate in Mexico

October 24, 2005|From Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexico's ruling party chose the nation's former energy secretary Sunday as its candidate for presidential elections, all but setting the slate of major candidates in the July vote, officials said.

Felipe Calderon won about 58% of the vote in the last of three regional ballotings, giving him 52% of the cumulative vote -- enough to avoid a runoff -- after a bitter primary of the National Action Party, or PAN, fought among three former Cabinet members in President Vicente Fox's center-right government. Mexican law prevents Fox from running again.

Former Interior Secretary Santiago Creel conceded defeat after receiving 33% of the cumulative vote. Alberto Cardenas, formerly environment secretary, captured 15% overall.

Creel and Cardenas had accused Calderon supporters of violating election rules. Creel was especially suspicious of results showing Calderon winning 72% of the vote in Yucatan, a party stronghold.

Calderon's emergence surprised many Mexican analysts because Creel, widely believed to be Fox's favorite, had led polls for months.

But Calderon had gained steadily. The son of one of the party's founders, Calderon has served as party president and as a congressman.

The nominations for Mexico's two other major parties are largely decided.

The front-runner, former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is unopposed in the left-leaning Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD. Ex-Tabasco state Gov. Roberto Madrazo holds a commanding position for the nomination of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

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