Mexican Voters Want Choices

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MEXICO CITY: In what is being called a victory for democracy in Mexico, the PRI, the governing party which has ruled the nation for almost 70 years, appears to be losing its ironclad grip on power in Congress. After 80 percent of the vote was tallied, the PRI commanded 38.2 percent of the vote compared to 27.3 percent for the center-right National Action Party and 25.2 percent for the centrist Democratic Revolution Party. Despite the PRI's difficulties, largely a reflection of voter outrage over the state of the economy, TIME's Tim Padgett says the party will still wield considerable power in Mexico. "The PRI is nowhere near dead. It still governs the lion's share of states, it's still the largest party in Congress, but it no longer looks like the monolithic power it once was." Padgett adds that opposition victories, which include a leftist triumph in Mexico City by Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, stand to move Mexico forward. "Ever since the Mexican revolution, Mexico has been a democracy in name only. Now it looks like a genuine democracy could emerge. This is going to mean a much better chance for some genuine modernization in this country in terms of institution- building, openness and a transparence in how things are done."