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Members of Mexico's conservative party vote to keep leadership in place, rejecting challenger

Mexico's conservative National Action Party voted Sunday to retain its current leader, holding its first election in which all party members were allowed to select the leadership.

Gustavo Madero easily won the contest to remain as chairman of the party, which is one of the three main blocs in Mexico's congress.

With nearly all votes counted late Sunday, Madero had nearly 57 percent against 43 percent for Ernesto Cordero, who served in the Cabinet during President Felipe Calderon's administration, which ended in late 2012.

The hard-fought contest saw both sides hurl allegations of irregularities, revealing some internal divisions. But Cordero accepted his loss and said he would not challenge the results.

PAN, as the party is known, held the presidency from late in 2000 until late 2012. That run broke a seven-decade stretch in which the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, ruled Mexico uninterrupted. PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto regained the top post for his party in the last election and took office Dec. 1, 2012.

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