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The PRI's Competition

March 29, 1994

There are two major parties besides the PRI plus several smaller ones that are running presidential candidates in Mexico's August elections.


Candidate: Diego Fernandez de Cevallos

The rightist PAN is Mexico's oldest opposition party. It was founded in 1939 by a coalition of Roman Catholic activists, large landowners and upper-class families, who rejected government anti-clericalism and feared that then-President Lazaro Cardenas was trying to create a socialist state. PAN espouses Catholic social doctrine with emphasis on the family, private enterprise and democratization. It has won three state governorships during the Salinas administration: Baja California, Guanajuato and Chihuahua.


Candidate: Cuauhtemoc Cardenas

Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, son of popular former President Lazaro Cardenas, broke from the PRI in 1987 to lead a broad opposition coalition as candidate for the presidency in 1988. He was in the lead when the vote tallying computer system went down; later, Salinas was declared the winner. Afterward, Cardenas formed the leftist PRD, which appeals for the ideals of the 1910 Revolution--social support, land reform and democracy--that it believes the PRI has abandoned. The party tends to attract peasants and the urban poor, as well as some intellectuals.


Six other political parties have launched candidates for the presidency, but none has a realistic chance of winning. They are the Worker's Party, Mexican Green Ecology Party, Mexican Democratic Party, Authentic Mexican Revolutionary Party, National Revolutionary Cardenist Front Party and Popular Socialist Party.


Compiled by Times researcher SUSAN DRUMMET in Mexico City

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