Mexico fights dirty in state poll
They are trying for a comeback after months of internal squabbling and
struggles within Mexico's blossoming multi-party system.
Many polls indicate Lazaro Cardenas, the son of one of Mexico's most important
political leaders, is leading in the race against business leader Alfredo Anaya.
A victory by Cardenas on Sunday could determine the future of Mexico's
Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, which has struggled to overcome internal
strife since Cardenas' father, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, came in a distant third to
Vicente Fox in presidential elections last year.
"An adverse result would be a hard blow not only to PRD followers and me
personally, but to my father," Cardenas recently told the Reforma newspaper.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, is hoping a win by Anaya
reinvigorate the party.
Fox's victory was the party's first presidential defeat since its creation
in 1929, and
it fought for months to hold onto a disputed gubernatorial victory in Tabasco state.
The party eventually won a run off election, its only gubernatorial victory
Both opposition parties have struggled to overcome internal divisions and
their former strength.
After his loss in July, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas -- himself the son of one of
most neloved presidents -- found himself competing with other party chiefs for the
de facto PRD leadership.
If his son wins, Lazaro, or "Lazarito," could find himself in the running
party's presidency in March.
"Lazarito's victory would rip open intra-PRD divisions _ temporarily sutured
for the election -- a bout the party's leadership," said George Grayson, a professor
at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
Michoacan is the home of the Cardenas clan, a prominent political family
dynasty began with Lazarito's grandfather, Lazaro Cardenas.
The elder Cardenas, whose presidential term ended in 1940, nationalised
country's oil industry, a decision that is still celebrated annually.
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas has run for president three times, and many Mexicans
believe he was cheated out of a victory by Carlos Salinas de Gotari in 1988.
The campaign leading up to Sunday's election has been plagued by the usual
accusations of foul play.
Cardenas' party blamed the PRI for a phony Cardenas site that kept popping
the Internet despite repeated efforts to shut it down.
The site appeared to be the candidate's official Web page, but contained
sites containing pornography and information on satanism and gay pride.
PRI officials said they were unaware of the site.
On October 10, unidentified assailants opened fire on Anaya's car, but
was unhurt. State officials are investigating the incident.
Still, the biggest obstacle for both candidates could be a crucial World
between the Mexican and Honduran soccer teams.
Election officials are predicting low voter turnout, believing that many
opt to stay home and watch the game rather than vote.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.