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Monday, 3 July, 2000, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Profile: Vicente Fox
Vicente Fox at a campaign rally
Victory for Vicente Fox
By BBC News Online's Kate Milner

Vicente Fox, winner of Mexico's presidential election on Sunday, is a former Coca Cola manager and state governor, known for his cowboy image and brash style.

He is also a successful businessman and natural campaigner, who has gained popularity in the polls as the National Action Party candidate.

Vicente Fox, National Action Party
Born: 2 July 1942, Leon, Guanajuato
Education: Business studies, Mexico City and Harvard
Experience: Governor of Guanajuato and former Coca Cola executive
Image: Man of the people, casual clothes
Policies: ‘Third way’ style of politics, favours market-driven economy guided by the state
His supporters say he has demonstrated his political skills as governor of Guanajuato, the rural state where he grew up. He has attracted investment, helped entrepreneurs and improved education.

But his critics say he is a personality, not a politician.

"Fox is 90% image and 10% ideas," says Javier Trevino, adviser to PRI candidate Francisco Labastida.

He can be controversial. During the electoral campaign he called his PRI rival Francisco Labastida a "sissy" and a transvestite, and was accused of flaunting his Catholicism when he used a banner of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, Mexico's most sacred religious symbol, during a political rally. He stopped using the banner.

He has also been criticised for his idea of privatising Petroleos de Mexico (PEMEX), considered by many Mexicans a symbol of their sovereignty. With an eye on public opinion, he has since reversed his stance.


Mr Fox, 58 on election day, knows all about brand image - as a Coca Cola boss he ousted Pepsi as Mexico's top-selling soft drink.

Now he is promoting himself as a down-to-earth man of the people.

Vicente Fox wearing colourful hat
Fox: Favours the casual look
He rarely wears suits, favouring open-necked shirts, t-shirts and cowboy boots. He also wears a cowboy belt, with a huge buckle bearing his name. He has said that if elected he will wear jeans.

And at six foot five, he easily stands out in a crowd.

Describing himself as an admirer of US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr Fox wants a "third way" style of politics, a softer brand of capitalism. He says he wants the state to play a role in guiding a market-driven economy.

In one interview during the election campaign he said he wanted to rebuild Mexico into a country "where security and justice prevail, where no-one is above the law ... and where every family will have abundant food on the table of its home."

Mr Fox, the son of a wealthy Guanajuato farmer, manages a 450-hectare (1,220-acre) ranch in the state, where he raises cattle and ostriches, and grows vegetables for export to Europe, Japan and the United States.

Divorced, with four adopted children, Mr Fox has made much of his agricultural roots, saying he was the only candidate to have ever milked a cow.

He studied business administration and management at Mexico City's Jesuit-run Ibero-American University and at Harvard, joining Coca Cola in 1964 as a route supervisor. Over the next 15 years he climbed the corporate ladder to become president for Mexico and Central America.

He was elected to Congress in 1988, ran for the post of governor of Guanajuato in 1991, and won by a landslide victory on his second attempt in 1995. He took leave of absence as governor last year to run in the presidential elections.

Speaking after his election victory, he expressed his intention to reach out to other parties and all Mexicans:

"From today forward, we need to unite," he told supporters at a victory rally. "Let's celebrate today, because beginning tomorrow there's a lot of work to do."

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