Mexican governor stays

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Villahermosa (Reuter) - The governor of Tabasco state in south-eastern Mexico denied yesterday that he had volunteered to step down to solve an election dispute which has led to violent clashes in the state capital, Villahermosa.

"They were rumours which started in Mexico City," said Roberto Madrazo of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). "I am here, working."

Police fired tear gas to break up a clash late on Thursday between PRI supporters and leftwing opposition protesters in the central Villahermosa. The city was calm yesterday.

PRI supporters have been blocking roads and closing businesses in Villahermosa to protest against plans for new elections in the state, saying they believe the government of President Ernesto Zedillo is trying to make Mr Madrazo step down.

He was elected last November but the left-wing opposition Democratic Revolution Party claim there was electoral fraud.