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MEXICO MOURNS ASSASSINATION OF PARTY OFFICIAL

Thousands came to the ruling party's headquarters to mourn its No. 2 official, whose assassination jolted Mexico's already jittery political scene.

Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, fatally shot in the neck Wednesday outside party headquarters, was the second top official of the Institutional Revolutionary Party to be assassinated in seven months.His body, inside a closed coffin, was placed in party headquarters, and Mexico's president and president-elect were among the party leaders who paid their respects by candlelight late Wednesday. Thousands of people crowded into the street outside.

The body was later taken to a funeral home, where small groups of mourners gathered overnight.

The killing shocked officials still recovering from the March 23 assassination of PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio, shot at a Tijuana campaign rally. Ernesto Zedillo, his successor, won the Aug. 21 presidential election and takes power Dec. 1.

"This is a day of mourning for all Mexicans," Zedillo said. President Carlos Salinas de Gortari called the killing a "hideous crime."

Mexico also was shaken this year by an uprising in January by Mayan Indians in southern Chiapas state, kidnappings of businessmen for ransom and drug-related violence.