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Mexico    VOTERS ELECT CHURCH-FRIENDLY OPPOSITION PARTY
Mexicans voted in astounding numbers on Sunday to elect a new government, rejecting the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for the first time in 71 years, choosing instead a party seen as more friendly to the Catholic Church.
    Vicente Fox of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) was elected president of Mexico, while the coalition of PAN and the Green Party (PVEM) took control of Congress. Fox will be sworn in on 1 December while the new Congress will be seated on 1 September.
    Many restrictions imposed on the Church in the 1920s have continued to this day under the government of PRI. The country's constitution continues to restrict the bishops' ability to speak on political issues. With the election of Fox and other PAN candidates and the removal of PRI from power, many observers expect the restrictions on the Church to loosen, especially since PAN had been connected to Catholic lay groups from its beginnings.
   
CWN
   
5/7/00



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