May 11, 2002

Fox seeks alliance with opposition

                 MEXICO CITY, May 11 (Reuters) -- Mexican President Vicente Fox met
                 with the head of the main opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
                 on Saturday in a bid to forge an alliance needed to push his stalled reform
                 agenda in Congress.

                 "Let's govern together for change. Let's unite our desire to make advances," Fox
                 said during his private breakfast meeting with Roberto Madrazo, who was elected
                 head of the PRI in February, according to a transcript provided by the president's
                 office. "Reforming the state is a major task."

                 In a news conference after the breakfast, Madrazo said the meeting, which also
                 included other leaders from his party, had been constructive.

                 "Today we drew closer to begin a constructive dialogue with the president," said
                 Madrazo, former governor of the oil-rich state of Tabasco. "We did not get into
                 detail on an agenda, but we did set out the party's disposition to have an ample
                 dialogue to put an agenda together."

                 Fox took office 17 months ago, ending 71 years of one-party rule by the PRI. But
                 his National Action Party (PAN) does not have control of Congress, which has
                 blocked, delayed or gutted all of the president's key proposed reforms, such as
                 those on telecommunications, taxes, energy and Indian rights.

                 The PRI has more seats in Congress than any other party, but no party has an
                 absolute majority.

                 Even as democracy has become more developed in Mexico, Fox has had trouble
                 fulfilling his promises of change because he has failed to form an alliance with the
                 PRI or the No. 3 force in Congress, the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution

                 Saturday's session marked the first formal meeting between Fox and Madrazo since
                 Madrazo became the PRI's head, although the two men previously had met
                 informally to discuss possible cooperation on certain issues.

                 According to the official transcript, Fox invited Madrazo and the other PRI leaders
                 at the meeting to join him "in legislative reforms to reach priority objectives in
                 security, social well being, and democracy."

                 Madrazo said they did not touch "prickly" issues such as recently launched
                 investigations into alleged illegal campaign financing by both the PRI and the PAN
                 in the last elections.

                 The PRI ruled Mexico with an authoritarian style. Since the party also controlled
                 Congress, it rarely had trouble pushing through new laws.

                    Copyright 2002 Reuters.