Old Guard Wins in Mexico

Enrique Pena Nieto of Institutional Revolutionary Party new president
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 1, 2012 11:30 PM CDT
Updated Jul 2, 2012 2:00 AM CDT
Enrique Pena Nieto, presidential candidate for the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), shows his ink-stained thumbs after casting his vote in Mexico.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
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(Newser) – Opposition presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto has won the Mexican election—along with several other members of his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). "It is a resounding triumph," Peña Nieto's campaign manager declared, adding that he was hopeful the PRI would also have a majority in the Senate and possibly in Congress. The PRI governed Mexico for 71 years until losing power in 2000. The telegenic Peña Nieto won with about 38% of the vote versus 31% for his closest challenger, leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, according to a partial vote count by Mexico's election agency, reports the Wall Street Journal. Josefina Vázquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party, grabbed just 26% of the vote and quickly conceded defeat. Obrador isn't conceding at least until official results are released mid-week, and may challenge the results in court, said sources.

Out-of-control drug violence and Mexico's sluggish economy were key considerations in the vote. Peña Nieto has vowed to open state-owned oil monopoly Pemex to foreign investors, raise tax revenue, liberalize the labor market—and crack down hard on drug violence. "It's time for the PRI to return," a 70-year-old voter in Cancun told Reuters. "The PRI is tough. They won't let the drug violence get out of control." But other voters feared a return to the old days of the PRI when it racked up a reputation as a corrupt, autocratic party, notes the Journal.

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