Main opposition claims victory in Mexico state polls

Mexico`s main opposition party has claimed victory in state elections.

Mexico City: Mexico`s main opposition party, which ruled the country for most of the last century, claimed victory in yesterday`s state elections marked by a blood-stained campaign.

"The results that we have in hand show that our victory was convincing," Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) national leader Beatriz Paredes told reporters, after exit polls suggested they had won at least nine out of 12 governorships up for grabs.”

The elections -- also for mayors and local deputies in 14 states -- were the last major test ahead of presidential polls in 2012 and were seen as an unofficial referendum on President Felipe Calderon`s war on violent drug gangs.

Voting took place under heavy security in some states, following a campaign marred by threats and attacks, including the high-profile killing of the favourite for governor of northeastern Tamaulipas, PRI candidate Rodolfo Torre.

According to several analysis groups late yesterday the centrist PRI had kept governors in six states and taken three new ones.

Calderon`s conservative National Action Party (PAN) had formed a string of unlikely coalitions with leftist parties to challenge their main rival but the PRI appeared to have lost to only one of them, in its previous stronghold southern state of Oaxaca, according to Mitofsky analysts.

Another two, northwestern Sinaloa and central Puebla, appeared too close to call, but PRI leader Paredes claimed the party was set to win in 11 overall, compared to the nine it held before.

The PAN earlier denounced raids on party headquarters in two states, Veracruz and Hidalgo, and the detention of 12 officials, which it blamed on the PRI.

Analysts said that post-electoral battles could end up in the courts. Final results were expected to take several days to come in.


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