Rivals Declare Victory in Mexican Election - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/3/06-Mexico City

Rivals Declare Victory in Mexican Election

Two bitter rivals declared themselves winners of Mexico's extraordinarily close presidential race despite election officials saying official results wouldn't be ready for days sparking cries of fraud from supporters and fears of violence.

The candidates a conservative bureaucrat and a leftist were separated by fewer than 300,000 votes with more than 30 million counted in a preliminary tally by electoral officials. Felipe Calderon had 37.1 percent to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's 36.1 percent, according to results from 80 percent of polling places.

But the Federal Electoral Institute stressed those results weren't final and said it wouldn't declare a victor until an official count due to start Wednesday.

In the meantime, both candidates declared victory, raising questions about their pledges to respect an electoral process in which Mexicans invested hundreds of millions of dollars to overcome decades of systematic fraud.

"We have no doubt that we have won the presidential election," Calderon told supporters.

"Smile: We've already won," Lopez Obrador told his. "We're going to defend our triumph. We aren't going to let them try to make our results disappear."

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