MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's conservative president-elect, who narrowly defeated a leftist in July's election, on Thursday vowed to fight rampant crime and poverty after he takes office on December 1.
Felipe Calderon said he plans to step up the government's battle against violent drug gangs that operate without risk of arrest in many parts of the country.
"The state can't abdicate its responsibility to safeguard its citizens and their property. We can't let there be de facto powers that attack society and challenge the state's authority," he told reporters after sending an outline of his plans to lawmakers.
Drug smugglers have become increasingly violent in Mexico in recent months and Calderon's home state of Michoacan has been hit with gruesome murders including beheadings.
Calderon proposed creating special police forces and judges that would be highly paid, specially trained and given personal protection while they take on narcotics cartels.
A former energy minister from outgoing President Vicente Fox's party, Calderon beat Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador by less than 1 percentage point, underlining the massive gap between the rich and poor in Mexico.
Calderon says he wants to heal the wounds opened by the election, in which Lopez Obrador accused him of fraud, and has promised to attack poverty as well as make deals with opposition parties.
"I'll focus on the priorities of beating poverty, guaranteeing public safety and creating productive jobs," he said.
A streamlined tax system, infrastructure investment and cheaper energy would reduce poverty by speeding up Mexico's economy, according to his outline.
"The priority is to create jobs. The path: economic growth, competitiveness and resulting investment," Calderon said.
Fox has struggled to create jobs and beat the drug cartels.
A special federal police force formed under Fox was supposed to be beyond the reach of crime bosses. But several of its members have been charged with corruption and even violent crimes.
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