Mexican State Elections Seen as Presidential Vote Warm-Up

Article excerpt

TOLUCA, Mexico -- Gubernatorial elections yesterday in the states of Mexico and Nayarit were seen as a warm-up to the 2000 presidential elections, but local issues and money could swing the results.

In the hours after voting began, no major problems were reported in either state, although in Mexico state, the opening of hundreds of polling stations was delayed, sometimes by hours.

The delays were caused mainly by heavy rains that prevented officials from getting to the polls.

The races are potential bellweathers: Mexico state, which nearly surrounds Mexico City, is the country's largest state with 11.7 million people and is home to about one-ninth of the country's population.

In smaller Nayarit on the Pacific Coast, four opposition parties have banded together in an unprecedented alliance aimed at overturning the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party's long dominance.

Many have argued that opposition alliances like the one in Nayarit are the only way to beat the ruling party, known as the PRI, which has held the presidency and most governorships for the past 70 years. …