Sunday's victory by National Action Party presidential candidate Vicente Fox in Mexico's presidential election was nothing short of stunning.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party had dominated Mexico's political scene, ruling since 1929, when Herbert Hoover was the U.S. president.
The longtime ruling party, known as PRI in its Spanish acronym, had ruled with an iron hand, and in the eyes of its critics, with considerable corruption. Until 1997, the PRI had worked through its Interior Ministry to oversee all federal elections and allegedly rig results in its own favor. That same Interior Ministry has been accused of widespread spying on Mexican citizens, covering up political crimes and killing civilians.
This presidential election was different. An independent body, the Federal Electoral Institute was in charge of the election. Opposition parties received more financing and access to television.
The result was the first peaceful transfer of power from one party to another in Mexico's history.
Fox plans to strip the Interior Ministry of much of its power in order to ensure that honesty and openness will be more prominent in in Mexico's political environment. He is instituting an auditing agency in an effort to stop government corruption and political kickbacks.
Fox, 58, a cowboy boot wearing former Coca-Cola Co. executive, faces a daunting task. No party has a majority in either house of its Congress. His own party doesn't even have funds to travel about Mexico and get its message across to the people.
Americans will be interested in how Fox plans to address two key issues, illegal immigration and the movement of illegal drugs.
Despite all the pitfalls that are ahead for Fox, Mexico's political process will likely be invigorated with fresh new talent and ideas as as the PRI's 71-year-old reign of power ends.
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