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Mexico goes to the polls in vote for new president

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Mexico goes to the polls in vote for new president


Voting is underway in Mexico in an extremely tight presidential election that will decide whether the nation joins the growing leftist Latin American camp or sticks with its free market policies.

Almost six months of bruising campaigning has split a country still finding its democratic feet after 70 years of one-party rule ended in 2000.

A shade in front in the opinion polls is leftist and former Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. An anti-poverty campaigner, he has promised to fund major welfare programmes.

The other frontrunner, conservative former energy secretary Felipe Calderon, wants to see more foreign investment and greater links to the global economy and has pledged to continue Vicente Fox’s free market policies.

Turnout is likely to be high – about two thirds of Mexico’s 71 million voters. Official results are expected early on Monday morning.

In a country where at least half the population lives on less than four euros a day, Lopez Obrador has won support by promising to give pensions to those over 70 and cut energy prices.

Calderon’s backers have accused Lopez Obrador of populism, saying he would overspend and plunge Mexico into debt.

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