Carlos Salinas de Gortari was inaugurated as president of Mexico Thursday despite opposition protests that his government is illegitimate and won't make the economic and political reforms the people want.

"This is an ill-fated day, because the right of the people to select their rulers is being violated," said Marcela Lombardo, who spoke to the congress before Salinas' inauguration.Democratic Front delegates walked out just before Salinas was inaugurated, while members of the National Action Front held up signs saying "Fraud."

In his inaugural address Salinas said he was taking power at a time of conflict and change and promised "nationalist, democratic and popular" reforms.

"I will be prudent in never risking the destiny of country . . . but firm in maintaining order and the constitution," Salinas said. "I will govern for all Mexicans."

Lombardo was applauded when she said that the front's candidate, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, had been cheated of victory in the election by the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Salinas took power from President Miguel de la Madrid at a special session of congress after the opposition speeches. The opposition had threatened to disrupt the ceremony if that was not permitted.

According to official figures, Salinas won barely more than 50 percent of the presidential vote.