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Mexico's president recognized as left vows to protest

Mexico's new president has been officially recognized, after the opposition's case against his victory was quashed. But left-wing opponents have vowed to demonstrate against the new leader next month.

Mexico's electoral tribunal officially declared Enrique Pena Nieto president-elect on Friday, but his leftist opponent refuted the decision and called for an opposition rally.

"I cannot accept the tribunal's ruling, which has declared the presidential election valid," Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters. He called for a demonstration in Mexico City's main square on September 9.

"Civil disobedience is an honorable duty when directed against the thieves of the hope and happiness of the people," Obrador said.

"The elections were neither clean nor free nor genuine, therefore I will not recognize an illegitimate administration that emerged from votes that were bought and other grave violations of the constitution," he added.

The tribunal had been considering a case leveled against Pena Nieto, aimed at overturning his victory in the Mexican elections in July. Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City, had alleged that Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had bought five million votes and bombarded voters with gifts.

History to repeat itself?

Obrador's response has prompted some to question whether Mexico could be heading for a repeat of the 2006 protests that paralyzed Mexico City. In that year, Lopez Obrador oversaw mass protests after he lost the election against Felipe Calderon, leader of the conservative National Action Party, by a fraction of a percentage point.

But Benito Berber, an analyst with the financial services firm Nomura, said protests on the same scale as 2006 were not to be expected. He added that, although the ruling would add to Pena Nieto's credibility, it was not an automatic endorsement of the new president's reform plans, which are aimed at tackling corruption and cleaning up government.

"The coming weeks will be key for the outlook for reforms because Pena Nieto will likely name his cabinet [sometime in November] and establish the priorities for the reform agenda," Berber said in a note to clients.

sej/ccp (Reuters, AFP)