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In brief: Pena Nieto certified as election winner

Mexico City – Mexico’s highest electoral authority declared Friday that Enrique Pena Nieto was the legitimate winner of the July 1 presidential election, formally opening the transition to a new government despite continuing claims of fraud by the left’s second-place finisher.

The Federal Electoral Tribunal said leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador failed to prove claims that vote-buying had affected the results of the vote that returns the former autocratic ruling party to Mexico’s highest office after a 12-year absence.

Pena Nieto insists his Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, has changed. In the final decades of the 20th century, its rule was marked by corruption, vote fraud and periodic economic crises.

“Mexico will have a modern, responsible presidency, open to criticism, willing to listen and take into account all Mexicans,” Pena Nieto said at a ceremony in which the tribunal gave him the document certifying him as president-elect.

Outgoing President Felipe Calderon called Pena Nieto to congratulate him and wish him the best for his administration that will begin when he takes office Dec. 1.

Lopez Obrador told reporters Friday morning that he refused to recognize the election results and was calling for a peaceful protest that he described as “civil disobedience” on Sept. 9 in the Zocalo, the historic plaza in the heart of downtown Mexico City. He launched street demonstrations that paralyzed central Mexico City after he lost the 2006 vote, but widespread protests appear far less likely this time.

Charges against miners questioned

Johannesburg, South Africa – Prosecutors came under intense pressure Friday to withdraw murder charges against striking platinum miners accused of collusion in police shootings that killed 34 miners and wounded more than 70.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe demanded an explanation from the acting director of the National Prosecuting Authority, Nomgcobo Jiba, on the decision to press charges against 270 miners at the Lonmin company’s Marikana mine, northwest of Johannesburg.

The killings on Aug. 16 have thrown into sharp relief the country’s deep problems with inequality and poverty 18 years after the African National Congress took power. The decision to charge miners under the apartheid-era “common purpose” law fueled anger and illustrated the ANC’s alienation from poor workers who had been a major element of its political base.

Legal experts said it was nonsense to suggest that the platinum miners had colluded with police to open fire and predicted that the charges would be thrown out when bail hearings for the miners are held next week.

President Jacob Zuma has set up a judicial inquiry on the shootings; a report is due in January.


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