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No Majority in New Mexico Congress

August 29, 2000

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexico’s new Congress was installed Tuesday, and no party held a majority, a feature of the country’s newly complicated political landscape.

President-elect Vicente Fox’s election July 2 marked a turning point in Mexican history with the defeat of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which has governed Mexico for the past 71 years. Fox takes office Dec. 1.

Outgoing President Ernesto Zedillo will deliver his last annual State of The Nation speech on Friday before a joint session of the new Congress that was elected with Fox.

The Congress is made up of two bodies, the 500-member Chamber of Deputies, or lower house, and the 128-seat Senate.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party holds 211 seats in the new Chamber, far short of the overwhelming majorities it held until 1997, when it first lost its outright majority in mid-term elections. Fox’s National Action Party has 207 seats and the leftist Democratic Revolution Party has 51.

The Green Party, which is allied with Fox, holds 16 seats and Democratic Revolution’s Labor Party ally has seven. The rest of the seats are held by three tiny organizations.

Ricardo Garcia Cervantes, 46, of Fox’s party, was elected speaker of the Chamber for a one-year term. He will deliver the response to Zedillo’s speech Friday and preside over Fox’s swearing in.

In the Senate, the Institutional Revolutionary Party has 60 seats _ short of a simple half-plus-one majority needed to approve legislation on its own. National Action has 46 seats and Democratic Revolution 16. The Green Party has five seats, and the Labor Party 1.

Senators elected Enrique Jackson of the Institutional Revolutionary Party as its president.

Senators and the president serve for six years. Congressmen serve for three.

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