Delegates to an extraordinary National Democratic Convention in Mexico City last weekend chose Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as Mexico’s new president. They also decided to continue the campaign of peaceful civil resistance to prevent the officially declared winner of the July 2 election, Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party, from assuming office.

The convention, organized by the left-wing For the Good of All coalition — composed of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, Workers Party and Convergence — was held in Mexico City’s central square, the Zocalo, Sept. 16-17. It drew over 1 million participants.

The huge assembly, representing coalition members and supporters through Mexico, voted Lopez Obrador the new president and gave him authorization to form a cabinet. They also decided Lopez Obrador will take office Nov. 20 instead of Dec. 1 when President Vicente Fox officially steps down.

“Today is a historic day,” Lopez Obrador told the assembly. He said the assembly had “proclaimed the abolition of the actual regime of corruption and privilege and has established the bases for the construction and establishment of a new republic.”

Delegates vowed never to recognize Calderon as president. They formed three committees to carry out ongoing work: a national political committee, a civil resistance committee and a “plebiscite and constituents” committee. The overarching goal is to block Calderon’s ascendance to the presidency Dec. 1. Delegates also voted to hold future assemblies.

The convention marks a serious challenge to the country’s ruling elite. Despite evidence of widespread fraud and electoral irregularities, the Federal Electoral Tribunal declared Calderon president Sept. 5. The U.S.-allied elite aims to enforce that decision.

At the same time, Lopez Obrador commands the loyalty of millions of Mexicans who feel that Calderon’s party rigged the election to ensure that he won.