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Chiapas Gov. Admits Campaign Plot

April 29, 2000

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ The Chiapas state governor has admitted taking part in a plot to influence local newspapers during Mexico’s presidential debate.

The Mexico City newspaper Reforma obtained a tape of a conversation in which Gov. Roberto Albores tells his press secretary Edgar Arrocha that the head of the state’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, would be in charge of having Chiapas newspapers publish that PRI candidate Francisco Labastida Ochoa had triumphed in Tuesday’s presidential debate against five other hopefuls.

Opinion polls by major Mexico City newspapers after the televised debate _ the second of its kind in Mexican history _ overwhelmingly declared opposition candidate Vicente Fox the winner. Fox poses perhaps the biggest threat ever to the ruling party’s 71-year reign.

Under federal law, no sitting official can use state resources to influence an election.

The governor of the southern Mexican state admitted to having the conversation, the newspaper reported Saturday. But he denied any wrongdoing, saying the local PRI sent the information, and the media is free to publish what it wants. He said the taped conversation was illegally obtained by the media and a violation of his privacy.

``You can’t rest litigation that came from a crime,″ Albores told a Mexican radio station.

Labastida sent Albores a message telling him that the best way to help is ``by working hard, giving good results to the people, and not doing anything more.″

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