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Mexico's left wins stunning regional victory ahead of presidential elections

Ruling conservative party obtains only 1% of the vote in the key Pacific coast state of Guerrero.

Mexico's left-wing Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, obtained a stunning victory on Sunday in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero and leads regional race ahead of 2006 presidential elections. Initial results showed that the PRD's candidate for governor, Zeferino Torreblanca was leading the vote with 56%, well ahead of Hector Astudillo, from the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, with as much as 76 percent of the vote counted.  

Sunday results proved the PRD is not only an urban force, but also a strong challenger all along Mexico's territory. On the contrary, the election constitutes a serious defeat for the PRI, which have lost an election in Guerrero for the first time in 76 years of ruling. As for the ruling conservative Democratic Action Party, or PAN, of President Vicente Fox, the vote was a disaster: its candidate only obtained 1% of the preferences.

Elections in Guerrero were considered of great importance for PRI’s aspirations to get back to presidency in 2006, after losing the post to Fox's PAN in 2000. Polls also showed the PRD holding onto Baja California Sur State, where the resorts of Los Cabos are located, while the PRI apparently kept control of Quintana Roo, home to the resort town of Cancun.

PRD’s leader, Leonel Godoy, was proud and happy after the results became known. “Our party is also ready to obtain favourable results in the incoming governor’s races in the states of Mexico and Nayarit, which will lead us to presidency”. The PRD, which finished third in the past two presidential races, was counting on a strong showing to prove it is a strong national challenger.

As for 2006 elections, the PRD can feel confident as its candidate and current mayor of the Federal District, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is well ahead of his competitors, according to last polls.

Even when expected, President Vicente Fox can only feel upset about elections results, as his party looks weak and not ready to challenge Lopez Obrador.

The network Guerrilla-style attacks that killed three police officers in Acapulco on Saturday and a police strike in Cancun added to worries about security for the gubernatorial elections, but no violence was reported.

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