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Decision on Mexican Vote Expected Today

September 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is to have a final decision today on its disputed July 2 presidential race, with the nation's top electoral court expected to declare ruling party candidate Felipe Calderon president-elect.

But the long-awaited ruling by the Federal Electoral Tribunal -- which comes two months, three days, and tens of thousands of pages of legal challenges after voters cast their ballots -- is unlikely to end potentially explosive uncertainty or close the growing political divide gripping the country.

Most court rulings so far have favored Calderon, who has a 240,000-vote advantage over leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

"We are very calm, very sure," Juan Camilo Mourino, who heads Calderon's transition team, said Monday. "Tomorrow, Felipe Calderon will be president-elect."

During an early-morning session today, the seven magistrates of the Federal Electoral Tribunal will give their final count in the election and decide whether it was valid. They have the power to annul the election, but nothing indicates they plan to do so. The court's decision cannot be appealed.

Lopez Obrador, who stepped down as Mexico City mayor to run for president, already has said he won't accept a ruling against him and is moving forward with plans to establish a parallel government.

For weeks, his supporters have blocked Mexico City's stylish Reforma boulevard. They say fraud, illicit government spending and dirty tricks swayed the election in favor of Calderon.

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