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The BBC's Nick Bryant in Washington
"Private citizens have launched law suits of their own"
 real 56k

James Baker, Bush campaign
"The Gore campaign is attempting to unduly prolong the national election"
 real 56k

Jennifer Laszlo, Democrat pollster
"The fact is that more than 2,000 ballots have not been counted yet"
 real 56k

Saturday, 11 November, 2000, 08:08 GMT
Count chaos as Bush plans for power
Bush (right) announcing he is planning a potential administration
Bush and his team turn up the political heat
The dispute over the US presidential election result in Florida looks set to deepen on Saturday, with Republican candidate George W Bush preparing for the White House, while the count itself appears to be sinking further into a swamp of claim and counter-claim.

I'm in the process of planning - in a responsible way - a potential administration

George W Bush
Mr Bush's announcement that he was preparing a potential administration sparked accusations from Al Gore's Democrat team that he was trying to crown himself prematurely.

With the Florida result still on a knife-edge, the count has been beset by threatened legal challenges and recounts - and possibly even legal challenges to the recounts themselves.

As officials in at least three Florida districts were preparing to recount votes by hand on Saturday, Republican officials were reported to be considering a court injunction to prevent them, on the orders of Mr Bush.

Bill Daley,  Al Gore's campaign manager
Daley accuses Bush of crowning himself prematurely
The hand recounts are contentious because they could favour the Democrats, by including Gore votes which were discarded by the machines because a hole was not clearly punched through them.

Democrats, meanwhile, have still not confirmed whether they plan to go ahead with their own court action over allegations of voter confusion and intimidation, particularly in the contentious Palm Beach County.

The BBC Washington correspondent says the process is now in danger of degenerating into a county by county, state by state battle of recounts and lawsuits.

Postal votes

Whatever happens, a final result is still at least a week away because of the delay in receiving postal votes.

I believe their action in trying to crown themselves as victors, in trying to put in place a transition, runs the risk of dividing the American people

William Daley
As the uncertainty in Florida continues, unofficial tallies from other state recounts reportedly confirm victory for Al Gore in Oregon, but reverse the New Mexico result - handing it to Mr Bush.

But neither state provides enough electoral college votes to push either candidate past the winning post: that remains in the hands of Florida.

Mr Bush, flanked by advisers who have been tipped for possible government posts, told reporters he was quietly preparing for power.

Palm Beach County
"I'm in the process of planning in a responsible way a potential administration," he said..

"It is up to us to prepare the ground work to prepare an administration that will be ready to function from day one."

Earlier on Friday, James Baker, the former secretary of state who is an adviser to Mr Bush, stepped up the pressure on Mr Gore by urging him to "put the country first" and accept defeat.

But William Daley, Mr Gore's campaign manager, said: "Contrary to claims being made... by the Bush campaign, this election is not over.

"We want the true and accurate will of the people to prevail and that means letting the legal system run its course."

The ballot paper confused many
The ballot paper confused many
An unofficial count conducted by the Associated Press shows Mr Bush leading by just 327 votes in Florida's 67 counties.

Leaked figures from the official recount showed Mr Bush's lead had been cut from 1,784 to less than a thousand, taking account of 65 counties.

One of the two counties still not to have filed results is Palm Beach, where there have been allegations of voter irregularities and several legal challenges, backed by the Gore campaign, from voters who say they were misled by a complex ballot paper.

What next?
11 Nov: Palm Beach starts recount
13 Nov: Palm Beach files results
14 Nov: Counties' recount deadline
17 Nov: Postal vote deadline
They say the design of the so-called "butterfly-ballot" paper was "deceptive, misleading and confusing".

Questions also remain over results from the state capital, Tallahassee, where there are reports of black voters being turned away from a polling station.

But one senior Democrat, Senator Robert Torricelli, said the challenges should not be taken too far.

"I would urge both Al Gore and George Bush to think of the country - the continuity of government, its stability and avoid any collateral attacks on the process."

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10 Nov 00 | Americas
US papers watch and worry
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