Lawyer to lead Mexico's drug fight

Conservative party lawyer replaces interior minister killed in air crash.

    Calderon, left, has said winning the fight against drug gangs is his priority [REUTERS]

    As a lawyer, he has represented powerful bankers and businessmen accused of fraud.

    Javier Lozano, Mexico's labour minister, said: "He's a magnificent lawyer. He's a man with a firm hand ...  the arrival of Fernando Gomez-Mont should fill us with hope."

    Bribery and intimidation

    Calderon has made winning the so-called "drug war" a cornerstone of his presidency.

    Rumours have been rife that Mourino's death was caused by the drug cartels [AFP]

    Violence involving the army, federal police and rival gangs has killed more than 4,000 people across Mexico this year.

    With mid-term congressional elections due in July 2009, Calderon said he had asked Gomez-Mont to work to keep drug gangs from interfering with elections.

    Calderon has warned in the past that drug cartels have tried to intimidate and bribe candidates.

    Effectively a vice president, Mexico's interior minister is in charge of domestic security but also works with opposition parties to drive the government's agenda in congress.

    As an independent lawyer, Gomez-Mont defended high-profile clients such as ex-president Carlos Salinas, a former director of oil monopoly Pemex, and the Canal 40 television network.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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