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Mexico Opposition Leads in Congress

July 3, 2000

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ With a stunning victory in Mexico’s presidential race already under its belt, the center-right National Action Party also led voting in congressional elections, possibly giving President-elect Vicente Fox the largest party in Congress.

With 88 percent of the ballots counted, National Action had 38.8 percent of the Senate vote and 38.9 percent of the House. The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, had 35.8 percent and 36.9 percent, respectively.

Another opposition candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the center-left Democratic Revolution Party, won the Mexico City mayoral race, maintaining that party’s hold on the capital.

Santiago Creel, National Action’s candidate for mayor, conceded defeat. With 91 percent of the votes counted, Lopez Obrador had 35.8 percent followed by Creel with 32.9 percent. Jesus Silva Herzog, the PRI candidate, came in third with 22.3 percent.

The Democratic Revolution Party almost swept the board in 1997, when Mexico City held its first mayor’s race in decades, replacing a presidentially appointed mayor with an elected one. Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, the party’s presidential candidate this year, won a surprising victory and his party crushed the opposition in races for local and federal legislators in chaotic Mexico City, North America’s largest metropolis. On Sunday, Cardenas came in a distant third in the presidential campaign.

Elsewhere, National Action won the race for two key governorships.

With 56 percent of the vote counted in the state of Morelos, just south of the capital, Sergio Estrada had 56.1 percent to 26.4 percent for the PRI’s Juan Salgado Brito. An in Fox’s home state of Guanajuato, exit polls by both national television networks and early returns showed National Action had held onto control: Juan Carlos Romero Hicks was easily defeating the PRI’s Juan Ignacio Torres Landa.

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