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Leftist party closes ranks to defy president-elect, for now

Leftist party closes ranks to defy president-elect, for now

Mexico's leftist opposition was sticking to its refusal to recognize conservative President-elect Felipe Calderon on Thursday after a spokeswoman for Mexico City's leftist lawmakers acknowledged speaking out of turn on the subject.
City assemblywoman Nancy Cardenas, spokesman for the dominant, 34-member bloc of the Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, on Wednesday night backed off a statement that her legislative group would recognize Calderon _ a remark that had outraged some party colleagues.
"That statement I based on my own point of view," Cardenas said in a news release. "I am clarifying that the subject still has not been taken up by the PRD legislative group."
Earlier in the day, she had said that her statement represented "the position of the group."
As Calderon's Dec. 1 inauguration approaches, politicians on the left are struggling with how to do their jobs while still maintaining that the July 2 presidential election _ in which Calderon defeated leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador by less than 1 percentage point _ was illegitimate.
Lopez Obrador has instructed PRD members to have no contact with Calderon or representatives from his National Action Party.
Cardenas set off a political storm on Wednesday by saying her bloc in the city legislature would recognize Calderon's authority.
Asked if that wouldn't contradict party policy, Cardenas replied, "We are talking about institutions, and our legislators will have to recognize that the institutions we have _ although we don't agree with how they act or are run _ have proclaimed Felipe Calderon as president."
In a 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 said that "we (lawmakers) are part of an institution and we have to act within the legal framework that governs us."
National PRD spokesman Gerardo Fernandez told the AP the party position "is that we're not recognizing the election and this hasn't changed."
Mexico City's current mayor publicly supported a seven-week blockade of city streets by Lopez Obrador supporters to protest alleged fraud in the election.
Hundreds of thousands of Lopez Obrador supporters acclaimed him "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.
Meanwhile the PRD appeared to be struggling ahead of state elections in Lopez Obrador's home state of Tabasco, which he carried in July 2 elections, according to a poll published Thursday.
PRD candidate Cesar Raul Ojeda was favored by 44 percent of registered voters, while Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Andres Rafael Granier Melo was backed by 53 percent in the poll published by the Mexican daily newspaper Reforma.
The poll surveyed 1,215 registered voters in Tabasco on Sept. 29 and 30 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
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 _ have criticized Lopez Obrador's strategy as counterproductive for both the country and the party.
Some party lawmakers, who won office in the same election that Lopez Obrador says was fraudulent, have indicated that they might prefer to legislate change rather than fight for it on the streets.
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Associated Press Writers Kathleen Miller and Mark Stevenson contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-04-15 01:06 GMT+08:00