updated 9/7/2006 12:21:27 PM ET 2006-09-07T16:21:27

President-elect Felipe Calderon said Thursday that one of his top priorities will be trying to win an immigration accord before President Bush leaves office.

In an interview with foreign journalists, Calderon said he will try to convince U.S. lawmakers that an accord is in both countries’ interests.

“We will work intensely over the next two years to arrive at a concrete agreement with the Bush administration,” he said.

Outgoing President Vicente Fox spent much of his six-year term unsuccessfully pushing the United States for an immigration accord. Calderon has said Fox was held back by the diversion of U.S. attention and Washington’s crackdown on immigration after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Calderon said Thursday he would work to persuade Washington to take action by capitalizing on the fresh attention the immigration issue has been receiving in the U.S. In Washington, Congress remains divided over whether to crack down on illegal immigrants or give many of them the opportunity to become citizens.

A negotiated solution?
Also Thursday, Fox spokesman Ruben Aguilar said the president is inviting Mexico’s main leftist party to negotiate a solution to the nation’s divisive political crisis and work toward unifying the country.

Runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has refused to recognize Calderon’s victory, and planned an Independence Day convention that may name him as the nation’s alternative leader. He says fraud is responsible for Calderon’s slim lead.

Aguilar said the president is contacting all five former presidential candidates and their parties and asking them to meet with him. Fox, who under Mexican law can serve only a single six-year term, leaves office Dec. 1.

In a largely symbolic ceremony late Wednesday, the Federal Electoral Tribunal’s seven magistrates recognized Calderon as the winner of the July 2 election by a margin of fewer than 234,000 votes out of 42 million cast.

Extending an olive branch
Calderon, a 44-year-old lawyer and member of Fox’s National Action Party, pledged once again to govern for all Mexicans — an olive branch to the millions who didn’t vote for him.

Outside the court, Lopez Obrador supporters spit at one judge as she arrived at the ceremony and threw eggs at a former federal official who became a member of Calderon’s campaign. Calderon arrived early, entering the court through a back door away from the protesters. Dozens of federal police stood guard outside, and no injuries were reported.

During his nightly rally at a protest camp in Mexico City’s main square, Lopez Obrador claimed Wednesday he already had 210,000 people signed up for a “great people’s assembly ... to decide the destiny of our nation.”

He said he hopes more than 1 million will attend what he’s calling the National Democratic Convention on Sept. 16, Mexico’s Independence Day. He has said the convention will choose between naming him as “chief” or “coordinator of resistance” or “legitimate president.”

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