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Mexico vote: early victor declared

EDITORS NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The party that ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century has claimed victory in the country's presidential election. An official "quick count" by the election authority saw the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ahead at least 6 points, with 38 percent of the vote. A senior election official said the party's candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, now held an irreversible lead over his rivals. SOUNDBITE: LEONARDO VALDEZ, PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL ELECTORAL INSTITUTE (IFE), SAYING (Spanish): "Thank you to all the officials and collaborators of the Federal Electoral Institute. But, above all, thanks to you who voted. It is estimated that participation surpassed 62 percent. This means more than 49 million citizens voted. Today's election is the one where more people have voted in the history of Mexico." A series of exit polls also gave Pena Nieto a clear victory over his rivals. The election is a dramatic comeback for the party, which ran Mexico as a virtual one-party state for 71 years before it was finally ousted in a election 12 years ago. Almost 700 international observers have been deployed across Mexico to ensure a free and fair vote. Sarah Charlton, Reuters.

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