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Mexico: Fox's Spokesman Resigns - 2004-07-06

Mexican President Vincente Fox's principal spokesman has resigned, accusing the first lady of undue involvement in politics. A senior member of the ruling party is calling for talks to end the political feud.

Fox spokesman Alfonzo Durazo has quit, accusing the president of trying to orchestrate his wife into Mexico's top job. By law, a Mexican president may serve only one six-year term. Mr. Durazo accuses the first lady of breaking tradition by publicly carrying out her own agenda. He also says her launching of a high-profile charity is a part of her political plan.

President Fox has publicly said his wife will not seek the presidential candidacy of his National Action Party, known as PAN. However, Mrs. Fox has broadly hinted she might run.

Less than two months ago, President Fox severely reprimanded Energy Minister Felipe Calderon for allegedly launching an early bid for the party's candidacy. Mr. Calderon promptly resigned.

Mr. Calderon -- who is also a former President of PAN -- says a careful analysis of this latest controversy must take place as, soon as possible. "It's an important issue, not only for the members of the PAN, but also for public opinion and Mexican democracy," he says.

President Fox's office is strongly refuting Mr. Durazo's claims, saying it neither shares his views nor the logic behind his 19-page resignation letter.