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Friday, 9 March, 2001, 23:55 GMT
Fox's flying start in Mexico
Vicente Fox: Honeymoon shows no sign of ending
By Mexico correspondent Peter Greste

Mexico's President Vicente Fox on Saturday celebrates his first 100 days in office still riding high in the polls.

Mr Fox came to power last year when Mexicans voted by a landslide to oust the Institutional Revolutionary Party which had held the presidency for more than 70 years.

Zapatistas accuse the government of publicity stunts
Mr Fox declared the nation had given him a mandate for change.

And in his first 100 days in office the new president seems to have taken the message to heart.

At its most profound level he has effectively changed the way Mexicans think about their government.

In the past they were afraid of the power wielded by the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Now though, Mr Fox has convinced the nation that their government cares; that is reflected in opinion polls that give him a 70% approval rating and a honeymoon that shows no sign of ending.

Anti-crime drive

Although Mr Fox leads the National Action Party in government, no party has an outright majority in the congress.

But in his first parliamentary challenge, Mr Fox drafted an austere budget and for the first time in the nation's history he managed to win unanimous approval.

He has also created new government offices to deal with groups previously ignored - the indigenous, migrants abroad, the disabled.

He has also restructured government offices in a major drive against corruption and crime, a colossal task that is expected to take years, if not decades, to beat.

Peace talks

But coincidentally, and perhaps most significantly, the end of the president's first 100 days comes on the eve of a march to the capital by the rebel Zapatista movement from Chiapas.

Mr Fox has withdrawn some troops from the region, released dozens of prisoners and sent a bill to congress enshrining indigenous rights into law.

All go at least part of the way to meeting the guerrilla's demands before they will resume peace talks.

But the Zapatistas have condemned the moves as nothing more than publicity stunts.

The rebels have won wide international support and as long as the issue remains unresolved, Mexico's most prominent running sore will continue to stalk the presidency.

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See also:

01 Dec 00 | Americas
Profile: Vicente Fox
01 Dec 00 | Americas
Mexico's Fox to take office
23 Nov 00 | Americas
Mexico's Fox names key ministers
02 Jul 00 | Americas
End of era for all-powerful party
01 Dec 00 | Americas
Vicente Fox: The road ahead
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