Ex-soccer star, now mayor, ends hunger strike in Mexico

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2016 6:55 PM
Ex-soccer star, now mayor, ends hunger strike in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Former soccer star Cuauhtemoc Blanco said Sunday that he is ending a hunger strike to defend his mayorship of the city of Cuernavaca, after Mexico's Supreme Court issued a stay against efforts to impeach him.

Blanco posted photos of crowds cheering him outside the cathedral in Cuernavaca.

He had begun sitting outside the cathedral early Saturday to protest the state congress' decision to refer the impeachment process to a three-judge panel.

Blanco was elected to the mayorship last year in his first political experience. Since then scandals have surfaced, including allegations he was paid to run on the ticket of a tiny political party.

The state congress said Blanco violated election procedures, including not proving his residency in Cuernavaca, which is south of Mexico City. The lawmakers also accused him of bypassing the city council and accepting irregular donations, like an offer to pave some city streets.

The city government said the Supreme Court issued the stay Saturday, after the city government argued the impeachment effort was unconstitutional.

Blanco, a 42-year-old former member of Mexico's national soccer team, retired from sports last year. He also played a stint with the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer.

Cuernavaca is the capital of Morelos state, which has been riven by protests and drug gang violence.