TITLE=UNIVERSITY REFERENDUM RESULTS (L-ONLY)
INTRO: In Mexico, preliminary results from a
referendum show overwhelming support for an end to a
strike that has closed the National Autonomous
University of Mexico, known as UNAM, since April. As
V-O-A's Greg Flakus reports from Mexico City, the vote
also gives strong backing to the university's rector.
TEXT: Exit polls conducted outside voting centers in
Mexico City show that more than 90 percent of those in
the university community support the proposal of UNAM
rector Juan Ramon de la Fuente to end the strike. The
voters also said the strike should end immediately.
Tens of thousands of university officials, faculty
members, campus workers and students went to 923
polling places all across Mexico City Thursday, and in
some other parts of the country as well. Special
polling stations were set up in San Antonio, Texas,
and (the city of) Hull in Canada, where substantial
numbers of Mexican citizens reside.
Only people associated with the university, as
academics, students, administrators or workers, could
vote in the referendum. The process was accomplished
in an orderly fashion, with each person casting a vote
showing identification and having indelible ink
applied to his or her thumb after voting.
The proposal Mr. De la Fuente put forth earlier this
month meets almost every demand of the striking
students, including the demand that a special
university congress be created to set the future
direction of the institution.
But strike leaders rejected the proposal anyway,
because not all their demands were met. As the months
have passed, more moderate members of the strike
committee have either abandoned the cause or been
expelled. The strike council is now totally under the
control of a hard-core Marxist group known as the
Authorities hope the overwhelming support of the
university community, demonstrated in the referendum,
will convince the strikers to end the conflict and
allow UNAM to open again. But those familiar with the
strike leaders are doubtful that they will be swayed.
At the same time, it is doubtful that the government
will use police force to end the strike, because of
fears that this could result in a violent
21-Jan-2000 00:23 AM EDT (21-Jan-2000 0523 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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