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Mexico Says No to Castaneda Candidacy

From a Times Staff Writer

The government announced Thursday that it would not allow maverick politician Jorge Castaneda to run in next year’s presidential election as the country’s first independent candidate.

The decision appeared to end a seven-month crusade in which Castaneda pleaded his case before the Supreme Court, the Federal Electoral Institute and finally the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Castaneda, who was once Mexico’s foreign secretary, announced in March that he would run for president as an independent citizen, in defiance of laws that require all candidates to represent established political parties.

From the start, his bid faced legal and bureaucratic obstacles. A week ago, however, the battle seemed to tilt in Castaneda’s favor.

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a recommendation to the Mexican government, saying Castaneda’s rights would be violated if he was not allowed to run.

Officials of President Vicente Fox’s government at first said they would accept the ruling of the commission, an international tribunal whose authority is recognized by Mexico.

The Federal Electoral Institute, however, announced Wednesday that it could not comply because doing so would require rewriting Mexican election laws.

Twenty-four hours later, the government sided with the electoral body and denied Castaneda’s registration.

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“It’s been a long time since Mexico explicitly rejected recommendations from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” Castaneda said. “This shows the government and the country are not complying with their human rights obligation.”


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