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Mexican Election Shifts Power to Peña Nieto

July 9, 2012
Plain English Version

On July 1 Mexico elected Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) as its new president. The PRI was the dominant political Party in Mexico for 70 years until it lost power to the National Action Party (PAN) in 2000.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) finished second. He is claiming that the PRI stole votes and that he is the winner of the election. The first official results from Sunday’s vote showed Mr. Lopez Obrador with 31 percent of the vote against 38 percent for Mr. Peña Nieto. Josefina Vázquez Mota of PAN finished third.

The PRI did not get a majority in either house of the Mexican Congress. The term of the new president begins in December, 2012.

Mexico faces important issues:

  • Peña Nieto supports private investment in Pemex, which is a state-owned oil monopoly.
  • All three parties back teacher evaluation and a longer school day.
  • PAN and Peña Nieto favor overhauling Mexico’s safety net including raising taxes for health care, old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.

Another big issue is the war against drug-related crime. Outgoing President Felipe Calderón  had police looking for drug lords and seizing shipments of drugs. Voters want something different. Mr. Peña Nieto will try to stop the violence by increasing the federal police force from 30,000 to 100,000 over three years.

Analysts say the new administration can make Mexico an economically growing, democratic and middle-class society. It would be wise of the United States to support Mexico in reaching its goals. This includes rethinking the war on drugs in consultation with Mexican leaders.

The Washington Post

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