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Opposition Party Installs ‘Popular Government’

September 14, 1985

HERMOSILLO, Mexico (AP) _ The opposition National Action Party, in protest against what it said were rigged elections in Sonora state, installed its own version of a legislature Friday.

Nearly 1,000 peopled watched in sweltering heatas the 18 defeated candidates of the party, known by its Spanish initials, PAN, were installed in the mock legislature.

The body has no legal status or authority, and is a political maneuver only.

About 16 hours earlier, the official winner from the July 7 vote, Rodolfo Felix Valdes of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, took the oath of office as governor.

Adalberto Rosas Lopez, PAN’s gubernatorial candidate, was cheered as he took the podium as the people’s ″authentic governor.″

″Sonorans ... are tired of living under a party dictatorship and a hereditary monarchy that has elevated corruption, inefficiency and extravagance to a superlative degree,″ Rosas Lopez said.

The conservative PAN, Mexico’s major opposition party but still tiny by American standards, has made impressive gains in mayoral elections in recent years, particularly in the north.

PAN had hoped the July vote would break the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s grip on Sonora, which borders Arizona, and in Nuevo Leon state on the border with Texas.

But the Institutional Revolutionary Party,which has never lost a presidential or gubernatorial race since its founding in 1929, won easily. PAN claims the election was rigged.

PAN officials said the party created its own legislature to prepare voters for the next election in 1988.

Carlos Amaya, the PAN’s state president, said it would be the beginning of a ″permanent movement″ that would be a ″great moral force″ for reform in the state.

In an interview Wednesday, Amaya said the PAN body would present electoral reforms bills to the real legislature and speak out on social concerns.

″We will accuse, offer opinions or applause so citizens will understand,″ he said.

Federico Perez Gomez, the PAN body’s president, said: ″The popular congress is legitimized by the will of the people ... who are indignant over the monstrous fraud committed during the election.″

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