December 1, 2001

Fox says Mexicans expected too much

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) --President Vicente Fox said Saturday that an
economy slumping at a record pace and "absurd" expectations that he would build
a new Mexico overnight have made his first year in office far more difficult than
he anticipated.

Exactly one-year after taking office promising a "revolution of hope" that would
stamp out corruption, create thousands of new jobs and undo the wrongs of
71-straight years of single-party rule, Fox said many Mexicans had expected too
much, too fast from his first year in office.

"During the campaign we outlined strategic plans, we outlined goals for a six year
term," Fox said during his weekly radio address. "There were some who absurdly
wanted results in the first six months. Frankly, that's not possible."

Fox said his promises that the economy would grow 7 percent every year he was in
office and that his administration would create 1.4 million new jobs by 2006 were
derailed by Mexico's sharp economic downturn.

"In the last 40 years we have never had at situation like this one where,
simultaneously, all the economies of the world decelerate in their growth and enter
recession," he said.

Despite the struggling economy, Mexico's peso has remained strong against the
dollar and inflation levels have remained steady, Fox said.

Fox's popularity has plummeted as he struggles to push reforms through a Congress
dominated by the party he knocked from power.

A survey conducted by the independent polling firm Alduncin y Asociados and
published in the Mexico City daily El Universal on Friday found that just 51 percent
of Mexicans now believe Fox's government is on the right track, down from 70
percent in May.

The firm conducted 900 face-to-face interviews with men and women over the age
of 18 between November 12 and November 26. Its poll has a margin of error of plus
or minus 4 percent.

 Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.