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Embattled Mexican Mayor Takes Leave

June 5, 2002

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MAZATLAN, Mexico (AP) _ The mayor of this Mexican resort city has taken a leave of absence to confront charges that he beat his wife.

``With this leave, I will have the opportunity to defend myself before the courts,″ said Jorge Rodriguez, a member of the small, left-wing Labor Party who began a three-year term in December 2001.

The action, approved Tuesday night by the city council, came as the Sinaloa state legislature was preparing a bill to strip Rodriguez of the immunity from prosecution he enjoys as mayor.

Rodriguez’s wife, Consuelo Olivas Tirado, filed a complaint last month alleging that Rodriguez hit her so hard during an argument in January that she required hospital treatment.

She is seeking a divorce.

The city council voted to replace Rodriguez with Jesus Altamirano, also of the Labor Party, though the decision was challenged by minority party members who claim Altamirano should not have participated in the vote.

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