Veteran Mexican politician forms new opposition party

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A former stalwart of Mexico’s long-dominant ruling party has formed his own political party in an apparent bid to become the first opposition figure elected president in nearly 70 years.
Manuel Camacho Solis became the latest potential candidate from outside the Insitutional Revolutionary Party to position himself for a run in the next presidential election, to take place in 2000.
The ruling party, known as the PRI, has won every presidential election since it was formed in 1929. However, its power has eroded in recent years, and analysts say the opposition will have its first real shot at the presidency in the next election.
At least three major opposition parties are expected to field candidates for the race.
Camacho, a former Mexico City mayor, quit the PRI in a dispute in 1995 and later served as a peace negotiator with peasant rebels in southern Chiapas state.
He announced the formation of the Party of the Democratic Center on Tuesday and began registering it Wednesday with the Federal Electoral Institute.
Camacho has said the PRI lacks the will to change and that his Democratic Center will focus on electoral reform and increased attention to human rights.
Passed over as a presidential candidate for the ruling party in 1994, Camacho has long figured as a possible successor to President Ernesto Zedillo in 2000.
The PRI has been tarnished recently by economic crises, unsolved political assassinations and growing demands for greater democracy. A string of defections and mounting electoral losses also have weakened its hold on power.