Group to Recognize Mexico Leader-Elect

The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 4, 2006; 9:25 PM

MEXICO CITY -- A spokeswoman for leftist legislators from Mexico City said Wednesday they would recognize conservative Felipe Calderon as president-elect, despite orders to shun him as part of protests over the July 2 election their party claims was fraudulent.

Nancy Cardenas said she was making the statement on behalf of the dominant 34-member delegation of the Democratic Revolution Party in the legislature representing the capital _ a stronghold of party ex-presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

"We are going to recognize Calderon because he is going to take office on Dec. 1 as president of the republic, but it doesn't mean that we agree with his platform," Cardenas told reporters, according to a transcript of her remarks distributed to news media.

Lopez Obrador was the mayor of Mexico City until he resigned to seek the presidency, and his party still controls the city government. The current mayor publicly supported a seven-week blockade of city streets by Lopez Obrador supporters to protest alleged fraud in the election, which Calderon won by less than 1 percentage point.

Hundreds of thousands of Lopez Obrador supporters declared he was the "legitimate president" during a mass meeting on Sept. 16 and called for him to form a parallel government. They also agreed not to recognize Calderon's victory or any of the institutions of his government.

Lopez Obrador's team has vowed acts of civil resistance across the country, including protests at Calderon's swearing-in on Dec. 1.

Asked if her comments reflected the opinion of all or only some of the 34 Democratic Revolution lawmakers from Mexico City, she responded, "It's the position of the group."

In a later telephone interview with The Associated Press, Cardenas said that at "no time have I said that Felipe Calderon is a legitimate president," adding that "our legitimate president is Andres Manuel."

But she also said that "we (lawmakers) are part of an institution and we have to act within the legal framework that governs us."

Meanwhile, national Democratic Revolution spokesman Gerardo Fernandez told the AP the party position "is that we're not recognizing the election and this hasn't changed."

"What Nancy Cardenas said was her own opinion," he added.

Some Democratic Revolution members, including party founder and former presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas _ who is widely believed to have lost the 1988 election because of fraud by the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party _ have said Lopez Obrador's strategy is counterproductive for both the country and the party.


Associated Press writers Kathleen Miller, Mark Stevenson and John Rice contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Associated Press