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Zedillo Shuffles Cabinet as Expected, Gets Mixed Reaction

From Associated Press

President Ernesto Zedillo announced a series of changes in his Cabinet late Friday night, fulfilling long-rumored expectations he would undertake a reshuffle by year’s end.

In a faxed statement from the president’s office, Zedillo announced the replacement of his chief spokesman, the federal comptroller and the energy secretary, among others.

In recent weeks, critics had called for Zedillo to make key changes to his Cabinet in order to govern more effectively.

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But the shuffling drew a varied response. Some said that adding veterans may help stabilize Zedillo’s administration at a time of waning public confidence. Others, though, said the last thing Zedillo needs now is more “dinosaurs” in the administration--the term used for old-style, autocratic leaders.

Carlos Salomon Camara will be replaced as presidential spokesman by Carlos Almada Lopez, a ranking interior official and former executive of the state oil monopoly.

Salomon will direct the national lottery, the announcement added.

Comptroller Norma Samaniego, who was in the spotlight for advancing reforms to tighten controls on federal employees and government spending, will become a presidential advisor, the statement said. Samaniego led the comptroller’s office during investigations of unexplained wealth allegedly amassed by Raul Salinas de Gortari, a onetime civil servant and brother of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

Arsenio Farrell Cubillas, who has held important labor and social welfare posts, will replace Samaniego as comptroller.

Ignacio Pichardo, the secretary of energy, mines and state industry who is widely identified with the old guard of Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, will be appointed to a future diplomatic post, the statement said.

Pichardo’s replacement, Jesus Reyes Heroles, has been given a mandate to expand the nation’s energy sector, according to the statement. Reyes Heroles has worked in the national public works bank and in the Foreign and Treasury ministries.

The statement said the changes become effective Monday.


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