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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Mexican president ties the knot
Vicente Fox and Martha Sahagun
The two married at the presidential palace
Mexico's most eligible bachelor, President Vicente Fox, has married his chief press spokeswoman and long-rumoured girlfriend Martha Sahagun.

The ceremony took place early on Monday morning at the Los Pinos presidential residence.

Mexico's new first lady
Aged 49
Divorced
Mother of three children
Began working for Fox when he was a state governor
The marriage between the two, both divorced, coincided with the president's 59th birthday and the first anniversary of his victory over the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

Rumours about Mr Fox's love life have swirled since he became a serious contender for the presidency last year.

Gossip columnists linked the former Coca-Cola executive with everyone from soap stars to his ex-wife during the campaign.

Ms Sahagun, 49, has resigned as Mr Fox's chief spokeswoman to take up the role as first lady, an official from Ms Sahagun's office said.

The civil ceremony took place only a few hours before Mr Fox was to meet Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for an official welcoming ceremony.

There were no immediate details about the ceremony or any plans for a honeymoon.

Unexpected

Mr Fox, who like his new wife is a fervent Catholic, had said that remarriage was against his religious beliefs and that he would never do it.

Mr Fox has four adopted children from his former marriage to Lilian de la Concha.

His eldest daughter Ana Cristina has filled the role of first lady on some state trips and other functions.

Ms Sahagun, who began working for Mr Fox while he was governor of central Guanajuato state from 1995 to 1999, has three children from a previous marriage.

She has a Cambridge University diploma in English from Dublin, Ireland.

News of the unexpected marriage follows the recent wedding of another Latin American leader, Carlos Menem, who married former Chilean beauty queen Cecilia Bolocco in May.

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See also:

26 May 01 | Americas
Menem marries his beauty queen
02 Jul 00 | Americas
End of era for all-powerful party
01 Dec 00 | Americas
Profile: Vicente Fox
01 Dec 00 | Americas
Mexico's Fox to take office
01 Dec 00 | Americas
Mexico's Fox ends one-party rule
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