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Despite critics, Mexican government vows to move forward with daylight-saving time

time
 

March 31, 2000
Web posted at: 10:51 p.m. EST (0351 GMT)

MEXICO CITY -- Defying widespread opposition against the country's annual shift to daylight-saving time, the Mexican government vowed Friday that clocks will go forward one hour next week.

Mexico has adopted daylight-saving time for the past five years, each time drawing furious public debate. But this year, with three months left before the July 2 presidential elections, the issue has attracted even more political debate than in previous years.

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VideoCNN's Mexico City Bureau Chief Harris Whitbeck investigates the controversy.
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Sixteen of Mexico's 31 states, as well as the Federal District of Mexico City, have opposed the shift to daylight-saving time, also called the "summer timetable." Many Mexicans cite a variety of concerns from the time shift, ranging from a danger to children going to school in the dark to the possibility of people's metabolism going out of whack.

Two major opposition parties, the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the National Action Party (PAN), have also asked the Congress to abolish the time change.

But on Friday the federal government vowed the clocks will be set ahead by one hour on Sunday, like many other countries in the region. The government argues the measure saves energy and brings Mexico into step with its most important trading partner, the United States.

Analysts: Opposition blowing up the issue

Deputy Energy Minister Mario Toussaint told reporters Thursday the summer timetable was "irreversible" and canceling the move to daylight-saving time would damage the Mexican economy.

"The effect on international transactions, both financial and in terms of trade, as well as on tourism, would be highly damaging," Toussaint said.

However, federal officials say future shifts to daylight-saving time may be up for discussion.

The opposition, especially the PRD, has been criticized by analysts for fanning the controversy to discredit the government.

"The PRD ... has found a way to blame the government for a bother the people feel, that does not have any offsetting benefit ..." said political analyst Sergio Aguayo.

Bureau Chief Harris Whitbeck and Reuters contributed to this report.



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RELATED SITES:
Daylight Saving Time
Mexico Time Zones
President of Mexico (English and Spanish)
Mexico's PRD (in Spanish)
Mexico's PAN (in Spanish)
Daylight Saving Time - United States Law

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