The Guardian July 12, 2000


Mexican election:
A break with the past

A former executive of Coca Cola, Mr Vincente Fox, was elected President 
of Mexico on July 2, ending 71 years of rule by the Institutional 
Revolutionary Party (PRI).

However, Fox's neo-liberal National Action Party (PAN) failed to win a 
majority in either house of the Mexican Congress and will have to form a 
minority government dependent on the support of one or other of the two 
main opposition parties  the deposed PRI or the centre-left Party of the 
Democratic Revolution (PRD).

Although the policies of the former PRI governments appeared to pose no 
threat to US interests  adherence to NAFTA and unrestricted free trade 
zones in the north of the country convenient to the US border, military 
action against the left-wing Zapatista guerrillas in the south, and 
subservience to IMF and World Bank dictates on economic policy  there 
were increasingly signs of independence from US domination.

This was evident in Mexico's position over Cuba, its hostility to the US 
over the question of Mexican workers attempting to seek work in the USA, 
and to the aggressive action of the US during  the Mexican currency crisis.

The defeat of the PRI by Fox's PAN was greeted with elation on Wall Street. 
In Mexico City, the Mexican stock market surged 6.1 percent.

Aggressive policies

Fox has announced an aggressive policy of defence of NAFTA and the 
demolition of the remaining barriers to imperialist "transnational 
investment" in the country. The barriers had already been significantly 
lowered during the last three PRI presidencies, but clearly not lowered far 
enough or fast enough to suit Mexico's US masters.

At the same time the new President has promised to "better the lot"  of the 
millions of poor workers and farmers who traditionally supported the PRI. 
How the new President is going to do that while supporting the policies 
which have impoverished millions in Mexico as well as in many other 
countries, remains to be seen.

Cuahtemoc Cardenas, the presidential candidate of the left-centre PRD, 
condemned the victory of Fox as a "disgrace for Mexico". However, on the 
positive side, the one-party regime of the PRI is gone.

The weakening of the links between the PRI-controlled pro-employer labour 
unions and the government party should be a spur to the growth of the small 
but vigorous independent unions. Mexico may now see the re-emergence of the 
mass movement and the revolutionary traditions of the Mexican working 
class.

Despite coming a poor third in the presidential race, the Party of  
Democratic Revolution easily retained the government of the capital, its 
candidate being returned as Mayor of Mexico City.

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