GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — The land of mariachi music and tequila, Jalisco is a state steeped in Mexican tradition. But after an explosion linked to government negligence killed 200 people and a Roman Catholic cardinal was murdered here, people screamed for change.

Five years ago they got it. Mexico's largest opposition party won power in Jalisco in its biggest electoral victory to date, a win many viewed as the first step toward ending the 71-year reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party at the national level.

With Vicente Fox of the center-right National Action Party given a chance at winning the July 2 presidential election, people are looking to this bastion of "PANismo" for some clues on what a Fox presidency would be like.

Before the PAN rose to power in the state, in 1992, a gas leak from an underground pipeline into a Guadalajara sewer system provoked a series of deadly explosions. In 1993, Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo was shot to death in a wild fusillade in the parking lot of Guadalajara's international airport.

Following those events, the PAN not only won the governorship in 1995, but also took control of the legislature and of 90 of the state's 124 city halls.

Jalisco Gov. Alberto Cardenas, considered a likely Cabinet member if Fox wins the presidency, made many democratic reforms. Jalisco today is the only Mexican state to allow public referendums, and recommendations of the state's human rights commission are publicly discussed.

The pro-business PAN also tripled foreign investment, drawing in an extra $515 million thanks to booming tequila exports and the state's success in attracting high-tech industries.

PAN-run towns also dismantled the power structure that the PRI had built on patronage from unions and local political bosses. By allowing people to obtain taxi licenses and vending permits directly from City Hall rather than through middlemen, they reduced the potential for corruption.

"We have implemented changes that have allowed us to leave behind the obsolete, antidemocratic practices and attitudes and set new standards, which have penetrated practically every level," Cardenas said.

But while people voted for the PAN largely because they believe it to be less corrupt, the party also has struggled to shed entrenched government corruption and old tactics.

Two weeks ago, Cardenas ordered the traffic cops on foot patrols to stop giving tickets for the rest of June, and critics accused him of election-time tricks not unlike those PRI officials are known for.

Cardenas, who generally has been seen as clean, said the unusual directive was part of a program planned a year ago to give newly trained police officers the opportunity to teach residents better driving habits.

He told The Associated Press it also aims to curb corruption.

"Today we have created different officers, with a different attitude and different way of doing things," Cardenas said. "The function of these agents really is not to collect money. They are not there to get money for the district attorney's office. But that's the way it has worked in the past, which gave way to corruption."

The PAN also has been criticized for Jalisco's rampant crime, a primary reason the party lost its majority in the state assembly three years ago.

And its church-oriented morality slant has proved more troubling than comforting even in conservative Guadalajara.

During his three-year term, the city's first PAN mayor, Cesar Coll, drew national criticism for publicly asking the city's female employees to wear longer dresses and skirts. Coll, now a Cabinet officer, also banned saucy billboards advertising the Wonderbra.

His successor, Francisco Ramirez Acuna, entered office pledging not to try to regulate morality. But Ramirez, who is now running for governor, soon came under fire for police allegedly picking up dozens of windshield cleaners from the streets and dropping them outside city limits. The state human rights commission also is investigating charges that police arrested homosexuals for no apparent reason.

On the other hand, Fox, who represents a new generation of PAN politicians, is known for his crude language on the campaign trail and says he won't try to legislate morality.

Despite the party's attempts to take a high moral ground, it has been tainted by corruption suspicions. PAN officials in Zapopan, which borders Guadalajara, are under investigation after the discovery of altered receipts and nearly $4 million in U.S. currency in a city safe.

Nonetheless, residents of Jalisco say corruption is less prevalent today and the governing party goes after its own.

"There's a new attitude among citizens of, 'I put you in power and I can remove you,"' said Luis Miguel Gonzalez, assistant editorial director at the newspaper Publico. "People know now that they can use their vote to punish."