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Wednesday, 15 November, 2000, 06:01 GMT
Florida state chief in election spotlight

The ongoing political and legal wrangling in the American presidential election race has thrust Florida into the spotlight and, in particular, its secretary of state, Katherine Harris.

Ms Harris comes from a family of considerable political and financial influence in Florida; she is a member of the Republican party and played a leading role in George W Bush's campaign.

The Democratic party have accused her of abusing her role as chief electoral officer in Florida, saying that by curtailing the hand-count she has acted unfairly against their candidate, Al Gore.

Ms Harris says she is simply enforcing Florida state law.

Correspondents say the outcome of the presidential election could well depend on the decisions she makes in the next few days.

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