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Mexico’s Pri Faces First Defeat At Polls

Sun., July 6, 1997

Mexico’s way of government for the past six decades is under assault in today’s national election.

Polls show the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, could lose control of Congress for the first time. More remarkably, increasing numbers of Mexicans think it would accept that defeat.

Since it was founded in 1929, the party’s grip on the country has been so strong that Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa called it “the perfect dictatorship.”

But frustration over the ailing economy and increasingly democratic elections have eroded the party’s previous hold on power.

Historians say there is nothing new about the PRI losing elections. Many think it may have lost presidential elections in 1929, 1940 and 1988, despite official figures to the contrary.

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