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EL DIARIO, EL INFORMADOR (Mexico) L.A. TIMES (USA)

MEXICO CITY - Though his main challenger has yet to concede defeat, Enrique Peña Nieto appears set to become Mexico's next President, which would mark a return to power after 12 years for his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

Mexico's federal elections commission is reporting that Peña Nieto leads with 38% of the votes, six points ahead of his nearest rival, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Peña Nieto did not hesitate in claiming victory Sunday night after the results were announced based on sample polling, though just a fraction of the votes have actually been counted. "It is time for us to look for national unity and to construct our future in a totally democratic system," he was quoted as saying in Mexican daily El Diario.

High on the centrist leader's agenda is the fight against the deadly drug cartels that have overrun large swaths of Mexico in recent years, as well as the country's sluggish economic growth. Outgoing President Calderon has already congratulated Peña Nieto's for his victory and offered his support to his successor.

The charismatic 45-year-old lawyer was governor of the State of Mexico from 2005 to 2011; and as the Los Angeles Times reports, Peña Nieto's win would bring back to power the party that ruled Mexico for 70 years, until its defeat in 2000 by Vicente Fox.

Meanwhile, Lopez Obrador, the second-ranked candidate, is refusing to admit defeat. According to El Informador, he is criticising the way elections have been organised, as well as the media coverage. He had already come second in the last 2006 Mexican elections, at less than one percentage point behind Felipe Calderon.

El Sol de Tampico reports that at least 300 people Sunday were shut out from voting at Tampico's Francisco Javier Mina airport because there were not enough ballots.

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Donetsk People's Republic holds referendum on joining Russia

Irene Caselli, Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Russia's proxies in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions announced that referendums on joining Russia had begun that Ukrainian and Western officials have denounced as shams.

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For four days, "voting" will be held at people's homes "for security reasons," Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti wrote. On the last day of the "referendums," on September 27, locals will be asked to go to "polling stations."

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