Court Set to Decide All Challenges to Disputed Mexico Presidential Vote

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Mexico's top electoral court plans to rule on all major challenges to the disputed July 2 presidential election in a marathon session beginning Monday morning.

In a statement Sunday, the Federal Electoral Tribunal said it will hold a public session beginning at 8 a.m., during which it will rule on all 375 complaints contesting the official voting results.

It was unclear how long such a session would take, but at its conclusion, the court's seven judges will likely be in a position to determine the election's definitive outcome. The court's statement, however, did not say if it would announce a president-elect at the session's end.

CountryWatch: Mexico

fficial results from the presidential election gave former energy secretary Felipe Calderon, of President Vicente Fox's conservative National Action Party, an advantage of more than 240,000 votes — about 0.6 percent of all ballots cast — over leftist, former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Lopez Obrador has challenged the results before the Federal Electoral Tribunal, claiming improper campaigning, illegal financial support from the Fox administration and widespread fraud. Thousands of his supporters have blocked streets and set up a sprawling protest camp in Mexico City's historic central plaza, demanding that the electoral court order a full recount.

National Action has filed its own challenges to the results, seeking to increase its candidate's lead.

Mexican presidents are limited to one, six-year term and Fox leaves office Dec. 1. By law, the electoral court has until Sept. 6 to declare a president-elect or annul the election.

Lopez Obrador plans to convene a convention to build a national leftist movement, which will be held Sept. 16 in the protest camps.

In the clearest indication yet that he is planning to form a parallel government if Calderon is declared the winner, Lopez Obrador told thousands of cheering supporters Sunday that they should decide during the protest-camp convention whether to name a president or leader of a peaceful, civil resistance movement.

Lopez Obrador himself would accept either post, but said he was leaving it up to his supporters to decide what title to award him.

"What is chosen during the convention will have representation and that representation can be a legitimate president of the republic or, if the convention chooses, a head of a resistance government or the coordinator of peaceful civil resistance," he said.

The former mayor says his supporters will continue to block streets and cripple traffic in Mexico City for years if the Federal Electoral Tribunal doesn't grant his demand for a full recount.