November 20, 2001

Mexico's former ruling party set to approve nationalistic platform

                 MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- Seeking to shake off a string of defeats that
                 culminated in its loss of the presidency last year, the party that ruled Mexico
                 for 71 years gave preliminary approval Monday to a nationalistic,
                 anti-poverty platform.

                 At its first national convention ever without a sitting president at its helm,
                 committees of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, suggested the party
                 support a massive anti-poverty and job creation program.

                 The committee recommendations will be submitted to a formal vote at the
                 convention's closing session Tuesday in the city of Toluca, 35 miles (55 kms) west
                 of Mexico City.

                 The committees said the party should push for renegotiating parts of Mexico's free
                 trade pact with the United States and Canada, and urge Mexicans to buy goods
                 made here, the government news agency Notimex reported.

                 They recommended a re-evaluation of the agricultural chapters of the 1994 North
                 American Free Trade Agreement, arguing it had hurt Mexican farmers by
                 unleashing imports.

                 The convention also approved a proposal to enter formal alliances with other
                 parties, with the exception of the National Action Party of President Vicente Fox,
                 who defeated the PRI at the polls in July 2000.

                 The PRI had held the presidency without interruption from 1929 to 2000.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.