Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, winner of the July 1 presidential election, on Monday accused the leftist runner-up of exceeding spending limits and using illegal funds to finance his bid. The allegations were a tit-for-tat exchange after leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador challenged the 3.3 million-vote victory by the PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto. Lopez Obrador alleges the PRI resorted to money laundering and vote-buying to win. PRI officials fired back on Monday, saying Lopez Obrador’s campaign spent 1.2 billion pesos ($88.65 million) more than was allowed in the presidential campaign.
At least 32,000 protesters marched through Mexico City on Sunday to protest the “imposition” of the new president. They accuse president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the old ruling party, of electoral fraud. Protesters have dubbed the country’s TV giant Televisa a “factory of lies.” Demonstrators marching through to capital claimed that Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the election by vote-buying and an aggressive PR campaign through major media outlets such as Televisa, which they claim was well paid for positive coverage of Nieto’s presidential campaign. Enrique Pena Nieto, 46, won the election with 38.2 per cent of the vote against 31.6 per cent for the leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Nieto’s victory brought the Institutional Revolutionary Party back to power after being in the opposition for 12 years. The ruling President Felipe Calderon of the conservative National Action Party came in third. Opponents of the victorious candidate demanded urgent domestic reforms.
Thousands of protesters have been marching through the streets of Mexico City to protest against the official result of this month’s presidential election. The march was called by a new student movement, “Yo soy 132” (I am 132) which accuses the winner, Enrique Pena Nieto, of buying votes. They also say he arranged favourable coverage from main television network, Televisa. Mr Pena Nieto has rejected all charges. “No to fraud,” and “Out with Pena”, shouted the protesters in this latest march against the result of the 1 July vote. “Mexico wants a country that is honest and democratic,” protester Marlem Munoz told the AP news agency. The protest also attracted supporters of the runner up in the poll, left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has refused to accept the official result.
Leaders of the Mexican left called Friday for a peaceful popular mobilization to annul the July 1 presidential election amid allegations of vote-buying and other machinations by the victorious Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. “We are asking that the presidential election be invalidated because there are very serious violations of the constitution,” the leftist standard-bearer in the contest, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said at a press conference in Mexico City. “We will always act peacefully,” he said at the presentation of the National Plan for Defense of Democracy and the Dignity of Mexico.
The conservative National Action Party joined Mexico’s main leftist party Thursday in accusing the winner of the country’s July 1 presidential election of campaign wrongdoing, saying it has “strong and conclusive” evidence of the use of illicit funds. National Action leader Gustavo Madero said his party is demanding that electoral authorities investigate the purported use of pre-paid debit cards by apparent winner Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign to disburse an estimated 108 million pesos ($8.2 million) in funds. That alone would be about a third of all the money the candidate was legally allowed to use in the race. Pena Nieto of the old ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, won the election with about a 6.6 percentage-point lead over the second-place finisher, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. National Action and the Lopez Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party normally don’t agree on much, so Thursday’s joint news conference between Madero and Democratic Revolution leader Jesus Zambrano was a rare occurrence.
Mexico’s highest electoral court has formally received the legal challenges filed by the second-place leftist candidate seeking to annul the July 1 presidential elections. The challenges filed by leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador appear to face an uphill struggle given the 6.6.-percent margin of victory for the winner of the race, Enrique Pena Nieto. Lopez Obrador claims Pena Nieto’s campaign engaged in overspending and vote buying. The court says he submitted 58 boxes of evidence as part of the challenge.
The runner-up in Mexico’s presidential election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has filed a legal challenge to the result of the 1 July vote. He said he would prove that illicit money was used to buy votes and secure the victory of centrist candidate Enrique Pena Nieto, who denies this. Mr Lopez Obrador wants the result of the vote to be deemed invalid. Mr Pena Nieto was confirmed the winner on Friday after a final recount, with 38.21% to Mr Lopez Obrador’s 31.59%. Mr Lopez Obrador, from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), lodged the challenge to Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) just hours before the midnight filing deadline. “The purchase and manipulation of millions of votes cannot give certainty to any result nor to the overall electoral process,” he told reporters.
The media rewrites history every day, and in so doing it often impedes our understanding of the present. Mexico’s presidential election of a week ago is a case in point. Press reports tell us that Felipe Calderón, the outgoing president from the PAN (National Action Party) “won the 2006 election by a narrow margin.” But this is not quite true, and without knowing what actually happened in 2006, it is perhaps more difficult to understand the widespread skepticism of the Mexican people as to the results of the current election. The official results show Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Neto winning 38.2 percent of the vote, to 31.6 percent for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and 25.4 percent for Josefina Vázquez Mota of the PAN. It does not help that the current election has been marred by widespread reports of vote-buying.
Mexican leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday he will mount court challenges against the results of the July 1 election, claiming vote-buying and campaign overspending by the winner of official vote counts, Enrique Pena Nieto. The announcement comes amid rising calls to investigate what appears to have been the distribution of thousands of pre-paid gift cards to voters before the election, and allegations by Lopez Obrador’s supporters that some state government officials passed funds to Pena Nieto’s campaign effort. Lopez Obrador finished about 6.6 percentage points behind Pena Nieto of the old guard Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
The media rewrites history every day, and in so doing, it often impedes our understanding of the present. Mexico’s presidential election of a week ago is a case in point. Press reports tell us that Felipe Calderón, the outgoing president from the PAN (National Action party), “won the 2006 election by a narrow margin”. But this is not quite true, and without knowing what actually happened in 2006, it is perhaps more difficult to understand the widespread skepticism of the Mexican people toward the results of the current election. The official results show Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto winning 38.2% of the vote, to 31.6% for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and 25.4% for Josefina Vázquez Mota of the PAN. It does not help that the current election has been marred by widespread reports of vote-buying. From the Washington Post: “‘It was neither a clean nor fair election,’ said Eduardo Huchim of the Civic Alliance, a Mexican watchdog group funded by the United Nations Development Program. “‘This was bribery on a vast scale,’ said Huchim, a former [Federal Electoral Institute] official. ‘It was perhaps the biggest operation of vote-buying and coercion in the country’s history.'”
Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will file a formal legal challenge this week to the vote count in Mexico’s presidential election. The electoral authority issued final results Friday showing that former ruling party candidate Enrique Pena Nieto won by a 6.6-percentage-point margin, almost exactly the same lead as a quick count gave him the night of the election. The final count, which included a ballot-by-ballot recount at more than half of polling places, showed Pena Nieto getting 38.21 percent of votes in Sunday’s election. Lopez Obrador got 31.59 percent.
Mexico’s electoral commission has declared centrist candidate Enrique Pena Nieto the winner of the presidential election. The announcement comes after a recount of more than half the ballots. Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has decisively won Mexico’s presidential election, after allegations of vote buying forced a recount of more than half the ballots. The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) reported on Friday that Nieto had won 38.21 percent of the vote, while leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) came in second with 31.59 percent. Josefina Vazquez Mota of outgoing President Felipe Calderon’s conservative National Action Party (PAN) garnered 25.41 percent of the vote.
Mexican opposition candidate Enrique Pena Nieto maintained his lead in a final count from Sunday’s presidential election, confirming initial results published the night of the vote. With 92 percent of polling stations counted by Thursday morning, Pena Nieto held 38.4 percent of the vote, seven points ahead of the leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, setting up a return to power by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) expected to conclude the final vote count on Thursday and certify the results on Sunday, when an official count of results from the congressional elections is due. Preliminary results showed Pena Nieto claimed victory Sunday with some 38 percent of the vote, about 6.5 points clear of Lopez Obrador. Trailing in third was Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN).
A recount on Thursday showed Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto as the clear winner of Sunday’s presidential election, but the runner-up still refused to concede, alleging Pena Nieto’s party bought millions of votes. The results set up a return to power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, when it was frequently accused of vote-rigging. With 99 percent of polling stations counted or recounted, Pena Nieto held 38.2 percent of the vote, 6.7 points ahead of leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, expected to conclude the final recount later on Thursday and certify the results on Sunday, when an official count of the congressional elections was also due.
Electoral authorities in Mexico have initiated a recount of roughly half of the votes cast in the presidential election upon finding inconsistencies in the final results. The initial tally, accounting for 99 percent of the votes, was released Sunday, the day of the election, showing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in the lead with roughly 38 percent of the votes, about six points ahead of runner-up and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Votes from about 78,000 of the 143,000 polling stations used in the election will be recounted. The results of the recount are expected to be ready by Sunday, Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) spokeswoman Ana Fuentes told the Associated Press.
Thousands of people rushed to stores Tuesday to redeem pre-paid gift cards they said were given to them previously by the party that won Mexico’s presidency, inflaming accusations that the weekend election was marred by widespread vote-buying. Meanwhile, the projected runner-up in the election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said he has asked Mexico’s Federal Election Institute for a recount of the ballots. The Election Institute says it expects the final count results Sunday, and that the law will already likely mandate recounts of about a third of the total ballots cast. At least a few gift cardholders were angry, complaining that they didn’t get as much as promised or that their cards weren’t working. Neighbors at one store in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City said the unusually large crowds prevented them from doing their daily shopping. Some people shopping at the store said that they were told the cards would be valid only during the two days after Sunday’s election and that they had waited to cash them in until Tuesday because the store was packed Monday.
Mexico’s presidential election runner-up, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said on Tuesday he would ask the country’s election authorities to recount the votes from Sunday’s contest, saying it was riddled with fraud. Lopez Obrador, who finished about 6.5 percentage points behind President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), said the process had been corrupted by PRI vote buying and other abuses, and that his campaign would ask the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) to recount the votes.
Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) is poised to regain the power it lost 12 years ago after seven decades in charge of the country. The official quick count of a large sample of polling stations announced late on Sunday gave the PRI’s candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, around 38% of the vote and a lead of around seven percentage points over his nearest rival. “This Sunday Mexico won”, Peña Nieto said at his party’s headquarters in the capital to the strains of a popular mariachi song, accompanied by his soap opera star wife and children. “Mexico voted for change with direction,” he added. During his speech, the slick, telegenic former governor of the country’s most populous state was at pains to address fears that the return of the PRI would mean a return to the periodic authoritarianism, corruption and corporatist hubris that had characterised the party’s political hegemony for most of the last century. “Mine will be a democratic presidency. We are a new generation and there will not be a return to the past,” he said. “In today’s plural and democratic Mexico everybody has a place.”
What is in an election? As Mexico gears up for Sunday’s presidential vote, much of the chatter has centred on the possible return of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) under Enrique Peña Nieto, its candidate and far-away favourite, according to opinion polls. And with little wonder: when the party finally lost power in 2000 after ruling for 71 consecutive years of pseudo democracy, many political analysts predicted that the party would shrivel and die as the country embraced a new, more pluralistic future. But let’s step back a moment from the constant questions of “will a PRI victory mean a return to the past?” and consider the political and economic stability that this election season offers investors compared with six years ago. Back then, investors were scrambling to put their business plans on hold as many doubted whether the centre-right Felipe Calderón could catch up with and overhaul the fiery front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the leftwing Democratic Revolution (PRD).
A secretive unit inside Mexico’s predominant television network set up and funded a campaign for Enrique Peña Nieto, who is the favourite to win Sunday’s presidential election, according to people familiar with the operation and documents seen by the Guardian. The new revelations of bias within Televisa, the world’s biggest Spanish-language broadcaster, challenge the company’s claim to be politically impartial as well as Peña Nieto’s insistence that he never had a special relationship with Televisa. The unit – known as “team Handcock”, in what sources say was a Televisa codename for the politician and his allies – commissioned videos promoting the candidate and his PRI party and rubbishing the party’s rivals in 2009. The documents suggest the team distributed the videos to thousands of email addresses, and pushed them on Facebook and YouTube, where some of them can still be seen. The nature of the relationship between Peña Nieto and Televisa has been a key issue in Sunday’s election since the development in May of a student movement focused on perceived media manipulation of public opinion in the candidate’s favour. Televisa refused to comment on the specifics of the documents but denied suggestions it had favoured the PRI, saying it had done political work for all the major parties.
With signs shouting “No to repression!” and “Down with the PRI!” the angry students who have taken the streets of Mexico with flash protests have become the most visible face of youth in this election. They have challenged the presidential candidates to debates, urged others their age to pay attention to the campaign, and sought to fight off the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held power for 71 years until its ouster in 2000. The college students marching in the protests are among the most privileged of the 24 million young people registered to cast ballots on July 1. At the other end of the spectrum sit the majority of Mexico’s young who live in poverty, did not graduate from high school, and earn less than $10 a day. But unlike the elections of 2000, when a majority of young voters agreed that the PRI had to go, this election season has seen a sharp division among youth along class lines. Educated voters in this demographic are opposed to the return of the PRI, while the rest of the voters aged 18 to 29 prefer the candidacy of Enrique Pena Nieto over his two major rivals.
Only 12 years ago Mexican voters kicked out the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had ruled for seven decades through a mixture of consent, co-option, corruption and coercion. Vicente Fox, a former Coca-Cola salesman who defeated the PRI, brought high hopes that his country would match the economic promise of the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA), between Mexico, the United States and Canada, with a correspondingly vibrant democracy. Yet unless the opinion polls are wildly wrong, Mexicans are about to vote the PRI back to power on July 1st, in the person of Enrique Peña Nieto. Aged 45, the telegenic Mr Peña cuts a seemingly fresh figure, with his team of bright technocrats from the world’s best universities. Yet he is a scion of the PRI’s most retrograde regional political machine. His allies include several old-fashioned caudillos, and his opponents say (though he denies) that he has engaged in old-fashioned practices, such as buying favourable television coverage (see article). Why is Mexico poised to take this apparently backward step? The answer starts with the disappointments of the past dozen years of rule by the conservative National Action Party (PAN), first under Mr Fox and then Felipe Calderón. Buffeted by Chinese competition and then by the American recession, the economy grew at an annual average rate of just 1.8% between 2000 and 2011. Poverty has edged up, not helped by the woes of the broader world economy. Lacking both a congressional majority and negotiating skills, neither president managed much in the way of structural reforms, leaving more or less intact the PRI’s legacy of public and private monopolies that stifle the economy and the education system. Mr Calderón chose to make security and battling powerful drug mafias the centrepiece of his presidency. Yet, with 60,000 dead, Mexicans are tiring of a “drug war” they at first supported.
Mexico’s leftwing presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has called on Enrique Peña Nieto, the current favourite to win the election on 1 July, to come clean about the alleged purchase of favourable coverage on Mexico’s biggest television network. His comments came a day after the Guardian published documents implicating the Televisa network in the sale of news and entertainment content to promote Peña Nieto’s national profile when he was the governor of Mexico state and preparing his presidential bid. “They should hand over all the information, the contracts, that they haven’t wanted to show,” López Obrador told reporters. “Of course they have them, and we need to see how much they paid, for what kind of message, and if they include all the promotion of Peña Nieto on the television.” López Obrador, who represents a coalition of leftist parties called the Progressive Movement – and who in the past has also been criticised for failing to release details of his own publicity budget – said he wanted to study the documents before saying anything more. López Obrador did not mention the PowerPoint presentation mentioned in the Guardian story that detailed an apparent strategy within Televisa to destroy his first bid for the presidency in the 2006 election.
For seven decades, the Institutional Revolutionary Party ruled Mexico by hook or by crook, stuffing ballot boxes, massacring democracy protesters and bribing journalists into providing sycophantic coverage. When it finally lost a presidential election for the first time, in 2000, the atmosphere was reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin wall. But now the party, universally known in Mexico as PRI, its Spanish initials, is on the brink of a triumphant comeback, with its youthful candidate for July’s presidential polls, Enrique Peña Nieto, enjoying a consistent lead of around 20 points over his nearest challenger. In the race for congress, the PRI, buoyed by its alliance with Mexico’s controversial, death penalty-supporting Green party, is close to winning 50 per cent of the lower house. That would be the chamber’s first outright majority in some 15 years, giving Mr Peña Nieto, a 45-year-old former governor of the massive state of Mexico, which includes much of Mexico City, more power than any president has had since the early 1990s.
With a month to go until the presidential election, Mexicans switching on their televisions and radios can hardly avoid the candidates vying to win their votes on July 1st. In a country with more televisions than refrigerators, dominating the airwaves is crucial to being elected. But ownership of the broadcast media is highly concentrated. Most people get their news through free-to-air television, a duopoly shared by Televisa and TV Azteca. Televisa, with about 70% of the audience, is forever associated in the public mind with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for seven decades until 2000. In 1990 the network’s chief commented that it was “a soldier of the PRI”. Many suspect that the media are still for hire: Reforma, a newspaper, published receipts last month suggesting that Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRI’s presidential candidate, during his six years as governor of Mexico state spent about $3m for journalistic “mentions” as well as $90m on public information. Mr Peña says the payments were all for legitimate publicity.
The four candidates for Mexicos presidency officially launched their campaigns for the July 1 election on Friday, all of them promising change. Enrique Pena Nieto, who is running for the Institutional Revolutionary Party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000, used the word “change” 26 times in his first official campaign speech. “Mexico is clear on what it wants, and it doesnt want more of the same,” Pena Nieto declared in the western city of Guadalajara. “It wants to exit this stage of shadow and darkness and enter a new stage of light and hope. “Pena Nietos focus on “a grand crusade for change” and “the change we want” echoed the 2008 campaign slogan of President Barack Obama, “change we can believe in.” It was unclear whether that echo was intentional.