- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2001

MEXICO CITY — In a surprise ceremony at the presidential residence, President Vicente Fox married his spokeswoman, Martha Sahagun, yesterday.
The two were married at Los Pinos at 7:30 a.m., presidential spokesman Victor Suberza said. Videotapes released by the president's office showed the smiling couple signing a wedding register and kissing. The bride wore a white fitted suit.
The marriage, ending months of speculation about Mr. Fox's relationship with Ms. Sahagun, occurred less than two hours before the Mexican president met Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for an official welcoming ceremony at the National Palace in the center of Mexico City.
"Congratulations for the first year of democratic change, for your birthday, and they coincide with the fact that the president of the republic has gotten married this morning," Mr. Aznar said as Mr. Fox smiled. "Triple congratulations."
Neither man was accompanied by his wife at the welcoming ceremony.
There were no immediate details about plans for a honeymoon. Presidential sources said the bride would step down as chief presidential spokeswoman, and would be replaced by Francisco Ortiz, who is Mr. Fox's public opinion and image coordinator.
The president's new wife had worked in Mr. Fox's administration when he was governor of Guanajuato, and rumors that the two were personally close arose during Mr. Fox's successful 2000 presidential campaign, in which she headed his press team.
With that election, Mr. Fox ended 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Both Mr. Fox, 59, and his bride, 49, are divorced and Roman Catholic.
Within days of the July 2, 2000, election victory, the Mexico City newspaper El Economista cited "sources close to both of them" as saying that Mr. Fox had told his children he planned to marry Ms. Sahagun before his inauguration last Dec. 1.
But Mr. Fox's daughter Ana Cristina, who had been serving as first lady, denied the report and hinted at a dislike of Ms. Sahagun: "Mrs. Martha works with my father," she said at the time. "We aren't friends and that's it."
The rumors prompted Nuevo Criterio, a magazine then published by the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico City, to urge Mr. Fox to return to his former wife, Lillian de la Concha, whom he divorced in 1991 after a 20-year marriage.
On Dec. 28, Mexico's version of April Fool's Day, the newspaper La Prensa ran a spoof story saying that Mr. Fox would marry Ms. Sahagun on Valentine's Day.
Ms. Sahagun ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Celaya, a central Mexican city in Mr. Fox's home state of Guanajuato. She obtained a certificate in teaching English in Dublin.
Mr. Fox married his first wife in 1971, and the two adopted four children. In his autobiography, Mr. Fox wrote that the two gradually grew apart. But he added, "to the day, we maintain a good relationship because of what we most care about in the world: our children.
"Since I started my fight to reach the presidency, I was constantly asked what I would do about the first lady, and they even invent romances for me.
"But I am completely immersed and devoted to my four children and my duties in politics; that consumes me 24 hours a day. I soundly reject it when they say a president needs to be married."
[Ms. Sahagun was previously married to Emmanuel Bribiesca Godoy. Reuters reported that Ms. Sahagun has three children from her previous marriage.]



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