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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
President Fox 'lame duck', says press
Mexican voters at polling booth
Press says low turnout spells citizens' 'disillusion' with politics

Leading newspapers in Mexico predict that President Vicente Fox will be a lame duck president following his PAN party's defeat in Sunday's presidential elections.

There is almost universal agreement that the winners were the old ruling party which had a stranglehold over Mexican politics throughout the 20th Century, the PRI, and abstentionism, with nearly 60% of the electorate failing to vote.

The overall result indicates "the evident failures of the Mexican political system", according to the centrist El Universal, which notes the level of abstention hit "the alarming figure of about 60%", the highest level in a mid-term election in the last 30 years.

Success and failure

Among the most remarkable results "are the collapse of the PAN, and the notable recovery of the PRI," it says.

The promise of Fox has been liquidated
Commentator in El Universal

The daily also points to the unexpected success of the leftist PRD party, "which completely dominated the election in the capital and registered a significant growth in popularity throughout the country".

The level of abstentionism, it believes, was partly caused "by the so-called political marketing, in which form prevails over content in the party political messages".

"There's no doubt that people would have preferred clear and well-defined policies in place of the slogans, songs, diatribes, and use of show business and sporting figures."

The paper's leader writer, Manuel Camacho Solís, argues that "the promise of Fox has been liquidated".

Supporters of PRI party
PRI comeback - a blow for Presidential PAN

"The PAN ended up below the PRI. Incredible. Who, after this result, believes that the PAN will retain the presidency in 2006?"

"Despite all the errors that led to its defeat (in the 2000 presidential election), the numerous accusations, the internal splits and the absence of change, the PRI is seen by many as the beneficiary of Fox's mistakes," concludes Mr Camacho Solis.

Error of strategy

A commentator in La Cronica de Hoy believes "the result constitutes an enormous defeat for the government of President Fox", accusing him of a failure in political strategy.

Suggesting that Mr Fox need not have turned the election into a referendum on his rule, the commentator says he made a mistake "in making 6 July a day in which Mexicans would clearly state whose side they are on", and he will pay dearly for it.

The electorate has let him know its unhappiness with the current situation
Commentator in Reforma

"The inexperience of the president and his team is clearly evident in this failed venture."

A commentator in El Sol de Mexico compares the president's defeat to that of the Mexican football team, which lost in a game against tiny El Salvador.

Omen of defeat

"It was an omen of what would happen in the elections, whose victor was abstentionism."

Noting that the PAN had lost the state of Nuevo Leon - "the jewel in the crown" - the commentator says the overall result was "a clear rejection of the Fox government".

A piece by leader writer Sergio Sarmiento in Reforma argues that Mr Fox has failed in his bid to rush through reforms and has paid the price.

The biggest winner was the citizen's disillusion
La Journada

"The electorate has let him know its unhappiness with the current situation, and now, with the new configuration in Congress, it will be even more difficult for him to get the required consent.

'Disaster'

"If he fails, we can safely say that his six-year term of change has ended three years early."

Another Reforma writer considers the result "disastrous for the president and a terrible blow for the PAN".

For the leftist La Jornada, "the biggest winner was the citizen's disillusion".

"Some 60% of citizens turned their back on the ballot box in response to the abandonment by the entire political class of any ideas, proposals, platforms or principles."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
President's party loses Mexico poll
07 Jul 03  |  Americas
Press urges Mexicans to vote
06 Jul 03  |  Americas


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