MEXICO CITY (BNO NEWS) — Mexico’s newly-elected president, Enrique Peña Nieto, returns political power back to the country’s longest ruling party, but leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has not yet admitted defeat amidst protests.
Peña Nieto, 45, of Atlacomulco, State of Mexico, received between 37 and 38 percent of the votes during Sunday’s election while Lopez Obrador received somewhere between 31 and 32 percent, according to the so-called ‘quick counts.’ Full, official election results will be released in the coming days.
On Sunday evening, following the day’s elections, Peña Nieto declared himself the winner as outgoing president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa congratulated him. The presumed victory brings the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) back to power after governing Mexico for 71 years during the 20th century until 2000, when the conservative National Action Party (PAN) took control for two consecutive terms.
But Lopez Obrador said on Monday that he will be waiting for Wednesday’s official election results before making a statement, avoiding an announced defeat. In addition, he said he would take unfavorable results to judicial authorities for further review, arguing that the whole electoral process showed “constant irregularities.” Lopez Obrador has also argued that Mexico’s media strongly supported Peña Nieto, manipulating polls and deceiving voters throughout the country.
Tens of thousands of protesters took the streets of Mexico City on Monday, as the ‘I Am 132′ student movement led demonstrations with chants of ‘electoral fraud.’ Protests reached PRI offices, which were evacuated to avoid confrontations.
The student movement, which has not favored any political party while pushing social participation in the country’s politics, argued that Sunday’s elections were plagued with serious crimes, threats against the society, vote-buying and stolen ballot boxes. Among common irregularities were reports of long lines of people at polling stations being refused voting rights due to supposed insufficient voting certificates. Other reports said illegal campaigning continued by PRI on election day through text messages.
“Cleaning out the election means eliminating all of the purchased votes and we win by a large margin,” Lopez Obrador stated on Monday. IFE councilman Francisco Guerrero, however, rejected to the allegations, saying the electoral process was ‘clean,’ describing it as ‘exemplary.’
In 2006, Lopez Obrador, 58, lost the presidential election by 0.56 percentage points to Calderon. Strong protests followed, including a long sit-in in one of Mexico City’s busiest streets in the heart of its business district on Reforma Avenue, as Lopez Obrador alleged irregularities in over half of the country’s polling stations, but the tribunal court eventually dismissed his appeal. During the 2012 campaign, the leftist candidate said he would accept the IFE’s results, but his recent statements have analysts questioning whether similar actions will take place this year.
Peña Nieto has pledged for several reforms, including private investment into Mexico’s national oil company Pemex. However, he will be forced to negotiate with rival parties, which are expected to have several seats in the country’s Congress. He is expected to be sworn in as president in December.
(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.)