Felipe Calderon takes charge of presidential residence to begin inaugural process beset by protests

Friday, December 1st 2006, 5:51 am
By: News On 6

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Felipe Calderon took charge of Mexico's presidential residence Friday in an unusual midnight ceremony, getting a head start on opponents trying to block his inauguration.

Calderon also swore in some of his staff and said he would not be deterred from taking the formal oath of office before Congress later Friday. Lawmakers allied with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Calderon's leftist rival in the disputed presidential election, have occupied the podium where the swearing-in is to take place.

In a live broadcast from the presidential residence of Los Pinos, Calderon called on Mexicans to leave behind the divisions that have dogged him and the country since the July 2 vote. He takes over from Vicente Fox, who handed over his presidential sash as his term ended at midnight.

``I have received the presidential offices from President Vicente Fox, the start of the process of taking possession of the presidency,'' Calderon said. ``Later, I will appear before Congress to take the constitutional oath.''