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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 17:32 GMT
Pro-reform Mexico cabinet named
President-elect of Mexico, Felipe Calderon
Mr Calderon is keen to push ahead with reforms
The President-elect of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, has announced his first cabinet appointments, including the key economic portfolios.

Mr Calderon appointed several pro-business economists and academics to important financial positions.

Correspondents say the appointments are aimed at showing Mr Calderon is determined to push ahead with reforms.

On Monday, the defeated left-wing candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, launched a "parallel government".

Mr Calderon said his finance minister would be Agustin Carstens, a former economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Crucial reforms

Mr Carstens left his job as IMF's deputy managing director last month to work with Mr Calderon, and will now lead efforts to push through market reforms and create more jobs.

The president-elect's team will also include an academic, Georgina Kessel, who has been named as energy minister, and Eduardo Sojo, who is the head of public policy in the outgoing government of Vicente Fox and will be the minister for the economy.

Analysts say these pro-business appointments are expected to help the president-elect effect crucial reforms in taxation, energy and labour - which his predecessor Mr Fox failed to get through Congress.

Mr Calderon is due to take office on 1 December.

In the elections held in July, he defeated his rival by less than a percentage point.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at his "inauguration"
Mr Lopez Obrador insists he won the July election.

Mr Lopez Obrador claims he was a victim of fraud in election - a view shared by millions of Mexicans.

He launched a "parallel government" on Monday in Mexico City and held an unofficial swearing-in ceremony.

'A thorn in the side'

But some of his supporters think his alternative inauguration is ill-advised and politically irresponsible.

Mr Lopez Obrador was "sworn in" by Senator Rosario Ibarra, a human rights activist and member of his party, who placed a red, green and white presidential sash across his shoulders.

"I pledge to serve loyally and patriotically as legitimate president of Mexico," Mr Lopez Obrador said before an estimated 100,000 supporters in the Zocalo, Mexico City's main square.

"I pledge to protect the rights of Mexicans and to defend Mexico's sovereignty and patrimony, and ensure the happiness and welfare of the people."

Mr Lopez Obrador promised he would do everything he could to hamper the government of Mr Calderon.

Although he has enough of a support base to be able to create a mass civil disobedience movement, some analysts think that his campaign will be, at best, a thorn in Mr Calderon's side.

The BBC's Americas editor Will Grant says many Mexicans are tired of conflict and long for a return to normality.




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Obrador's unofficial swearing-in ceremony in Mexico City



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