Mexico's uncertainty grows with 'parallel' government

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The Independent US

The uncertainty over Mexico's political future has taken a new twist after supporters of the defeated presidential candidate elected him to lead a "parallel" government that will spend the next six years opposing the man who won the election.

By a show of hands, hundreds of thousands of supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador voted for the former mayor of Mexico City to head the alternative government that will oppose the administration of the president-elect, Felipe Calderon. Suitably enough, the vote was taken in the central plaza, or Zocalo, which has been home to his campaign for many months.

"It should be clear why we've taken this road," Mr Lopez Obrador said. "It's not because of a whim, or anything personal ... This is the firm and honourable response to those who have converted our political institutions into a grotesque farce." Quite what form the parallel government of the left-wing Mr Lopez Obrador will take is unclear, though supporters said he would work with a full cabinet. A number of committees have already been formed. Saturday's demonstration in support of Mr Lopez Obrador brought supporters from across the country. Pedro Perez, a 61-year-old coffee exporter from Mexico City, watched from a hotel rooftop. He told the Associated Press: "This is a very important day for all of us who have defended democracy and want the country to change for the good of everyone."

Earlier this month, Mexico's federal electoral tribunal dismissed Mr Lopez Obrador's claims that the election had been undermined by fraud and awarded victory to the US-educated, conservative Mr Calderon by around 240,000 votes.

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