Presidential Promises Falter

Sep 1, 2002

President Vicente Fox has been unable to overcome the political obstacles to many of his vaunted reform plans. Still,Mexico has largely avoided South America's malaise and remains a regional economic powerhouse.

Mexico's President Vicente Fox took office a year and nine months ago, promising great change after ending 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). "There is a new reality of power in Mexico and a new era of democratization and expectations of change," Fox declared in his December 2000 inauguration speech. "We will not let you down." He is almost a third of the way through his six-year term, but his ambitious plans for laying the foundations of a modern, developed economy have come to little so far. Fox's main problem is that his conservative National Action Party (PAN) does not control Congress. Fox and his team lack the political skills needed to patch together majorities to push ahead with the government's aggressive reform program, which includes calls for constitutional amendments to overhaul the country's state-controlled oil and electricity industries. Mexico nationalized foreign oil companies...

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