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Sunday, 2 April, 2000, 00:53 GMT 01:53 UK
Mexicans reject early rise
Mexico City
Many Mexicans say they do not want to get up early
By Peter Greste in Mexico City

A number of states in Mexico have threatened to boycott plans to move clocks forward in line with summer daylight saving time.

Eleven of 32 states have formally objected to the change, which is scheduled for 1500 GMT on Sunday, but the government says abandoning daylight saving is not an option.

Moving the clocks forward to encourage people to rise an hour earlier over summer is hardly a radical notion.

Mexico has been doing it for the past four years. But recent surveys show roughly half the country is still against the change.

Now, just months before a general election, the two main opposition parties have sided with those people.

Among the arguments against daylight saving are that it disrupts the sex lives of those who prefer the mornings, that it poses risks to children to have to go to school in the dark, and that it affects an entire population's metabolism.

Disastrous

But the opposition Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) has gone a step further; arguing that the presidential decree which committed Mexico to the change is unconstitutional, although it has not explained why.

The PRD administration in Mexico City is polling citizens in an effort to convince the government to abandon the move.

It is unlikely that that the 11 states will carry out their threat of a boycott.

The disruptions to national business, transport and communications would be disastrous.

But another opposition group, the Party of National Action, complained that the government had placed economic gain over social impact.

Even so, the financial benefits are clear.

Federal authorities estimate that the hour change saves enough oil to power two million cars for two months, and that it keeps the country in step with its two biggest trading partners, the United States and Canada.

Mexico is too tied into the rest of the world to dump the plan, said one official, and anyway, he said, in a week's time, everyone will have forgotten about the clocks.

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